2008 (USE 1081131) Alban "Reva" Edna Valley Syrah

SKU #1116143 95-96 points James Suckling

 Love the spice, game and dark berries, yet reserved and austere. Shows form and firmness. Long and beautiful. Should be in market in November 2012.  (5/2012)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2008 Reva (Syrah) is stunningly beautiful. This is a relatively delicate, feminine Reva that impresses for its length, balance and utter purity of fruit. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint and silky, saline notes wrap around the expressive fruit on the long, polished finish. A hint of truffles adds to the wine’s sensual, totally beguiling personality. In 2008, the Reva is drop-dead gorgeous. Readers should note that, in this vintage, there is no Lorraine or Seymour’s, so the 2008 is a 'super-Reva!' Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. (96+) This is a fabulous set of wines from John and Lorraine Alban...Over the years, a similar evolution has taken place with the reds. The inky, black color of the Syrahs is now gone. Today, Alban favors lengthy barrel aging for his top reds, a technique he compares to 'braising' in cooking, which requires softer and gentler fermentations at the outset. Beginning around 2006, Alban started doing fewer pump overs and in general encourages longer, slower fermentations. The wines used to go into barrel with some sugar still left to ferment, while today they go in drier than in the past. Over the years, new oak levels have also come down. Most of the current releases are 2008s, a vintage Alban describes as characterized by a spring frost, drought and cloudy days with less heat and sunlight than is typically the case. Readers may want to check out my video interview with John Alban for more on current and upcoming vintages.  (8/2012)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Glass-staining purple. Sexy smoke- and spice-accented aromas of candied black and blue fruits and potpourri, with a suggestion of black pepper building with air. Lush and expansive on the palate, offering deeply pitched but lively cassis and blueberry flavors and a suave floral pastille nuance. The spicy note comes back strong on the finish, which shows only a hint of tannins.  (12/2012)

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Price: $149.99
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- 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:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Sants Inez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, chardonnay and pinot noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.