2008 Ojai "Roll Ranch Vineyard" California Syrah
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.
*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.
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.
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.