2008 Rusack Santa Barbara County Syrah

SKU #1063805

93 points Wine Spectator and #27 in Top 100 Wines of 2011, "Smart Buys" designation: "Smart Buys" designate : "Complex and layered, offering a firm core of dried berry, mineral, cedar and sage, with dashes of pepper and spice. Full-bodied, sleek and focused, ending with a touch of creamy oak." (02/11) 92 points Wine Enthusiast, "Editors' Choice": "A huge wine, explosive in ripe fruit, elaborated with rich oak and wrapped into smooth, sweet tannins. Made from vineyards throughout the county, it dazzles with a complex of blackberry jam, mocha, date, bacon and smoky sandalwood flavors. Really impressive, especially at this price. Drink Now-2015." (06/11) 90 points Robert Parker: "The outstanding 2008 Syrah Santa Barbara exhibits mineral-laced, dark raspberry, kirsch, and blacker fruit characteristics, a velvety texture, medium to full body, and an elegant, soft, seductive personality. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (08/10)

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Price: $24.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/27/2011 | Send Email
Domestic Syrah is a tough thing to pin down. It has become such a moveable target with wines ranging everywhere from the sappy, über-ripeness of Australian Shiraz to the classic beefy, bloodiness of the Northern Rhone and all stops in-between. This, I believe, has hurt the varietal’s success in the US leading customers down a multi-forked road. Now I’m not saying that everyone should make Syrah in the same way, please sweet lord no cookie cutter wines, but there really needs to be something more concise when it comes to these wines. One Syrah that I’ve tasted lately that impressed with its clarity was the 2008 Rusack Santa Barbara County bottling. There is no mistaking this for something other than what it is with its gamey, smoked meat and anise laden nose bolstered by a depth of sun ripened wild blackberry fruit. Soft and pliable this is surely not the biggest or boldest Syrah in the world but it does have all the trademark flavors it should have and it is wildly drinkable needing no further time in bottle. Deep and mouth filling with its balanced flavors of peppered beef, blood, mesquite, black currant, cedar and vanilla this is a treat to drink and would be perfect with just about any lamb or slow cooked beef dish.

Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/27/2011 | Send Email
Syrah styles run the gamut from the most tough, leathery, tannic Northern Rhones that can overwhelm some with their game, bacon and horse sweat, to the most soft, ripe and jammy of australia Shiraz. But Syrah lovers shouldn't have to choose between sweaty horses and fruit compote and this beautifully elegant wine bridges the gap perfectly. This is sleek and supple with dark fruit, mineral, herb and berry flavors that stay focused and approachable. This is user friendly, versitile with food and beautifully balanced.

Additional Information:



- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5