2008 Ojai "Roll Ranch Vineyard" California Syrah

SKU #1116555 96 points Connoisseurs Guide

 In 2008, this perennially successful combination of vineyard and vintner comes through with flying colors again and, in this case, reminds of the pitfalls that await those who might judge a wine solely on its alcohol content. Its label may claim 15.3% abv., but there is no unwieldy excess here, and it is a rich and remarkably composed Syrah of keen focus and real sophistication. It is at once substantial and exceptionally well-balanced with incisively fruity flavors and layers of interest even at this early age, and its combination of polish and power takes it right to the head of the class. Do not be in hurry to drink it up soon as it promises to impress even more with age.  (3/2013)

94 points Wine Spectator

 *Highly Recommended* Pure, ripe and complex dark fruit aromatics show spice and floral accents. This red is rich, yet graceful in texture, with fine-grained tannins, and offers blueberry, wild berry and boysenberry flavors that turn elegant on the finish. Drink now through 2024.  (12/2012)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Another deep, expressive wine, the 2008 Syrah Roll Ranch fleshes out beautifully on the mid-palate. All the elements are in symmetry. This is a more radiant, ripe style of Syrah within the Ojai portfolio. The wine’s textural finesse compensates for a bouquet that is not especially varietal, at least today. The Roll Ranch stands apart from the rest of the Syrahs. It emerges from a warmer, earlier ripening site that is typically harvested in early September, a good month (or more) earlier than the rest of the Syrahs. The 2008 was co-fermented with 2% Viognier. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023. This is a gorgeous set of wines from Ojai and proprietor Adam Tolmach. The 2009 Pinots and 2008 Syrahs in particular are terrific. The best Ojai wines – and there are many that vie for that label – are gorgeous, transparent to site and highly expressive. As always, the style at Ojai is fairly non-interventionalist. Since 2005, the fermentations have been gentler, with less overall extraction. The malos proceed naturally and slowly. As a rule, the wines are never racked until bottling. The Ojai wines remain exceedingly fairly priced considering the quality and painstaking effort that goes into every bottle.  (8/2012)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky purple. Pungent cherry, plum and dark berry aromas are complemented by bitter chocolate, licorice, herbs and espresso. Deep and rich on the palate, offering impressively concentrated cherry pit, blackcurrant and candied licorice flavors and a sweet mocha tone on the back. The bright, penetrating, gently tannic finish features a sappy, sweet note of dark berries and very good energy.  (12/2012)

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Price: $39.99
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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 Santa Ynez 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.3