2010 Alban Vineyards "Patrina" Central Coast Syrah

SKU #1122928 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 First made in 2008, and available only through distribution (i.e. not via the mailing list), the 2010 Patrina is a perfect entry into the wines of the estate. Made from 100% Syrah (from a variety of estate vineyards) and aged two years in 70% new French oak, it’s one hell of an entry-level effort and boasts gorgeously pure aromatics (cassis, raspberry, flowers, spice), full-bodied richness and an overall layered, fresh profile that’s hard to resist. While it doesn’t have the back-end depth of the single vineyard releases, it doesn’t skimp on texture and length. Enjoy it over the coming 5-8 years. Drink now-2021. Located at the very southern end of the Edna Valley and residing in its own little micro climate, Alban Vineyards, under the guidance of John Alban, is a reference point for Rhone varieties in the world today. Looking at the vintages reviewed here, both 2009 and 2010 are strong, with the 2009s possessing plenty of sweet fruit and relatively approachable profiles, and the 2010s showing slightly more structure, with lively acidity and big frames that will fill in once bottled. As is common with John’s Syrahs, these continue to gain in richness and depth as they mature in barrel (they see upwards of 4 years in barrel) and really don’t show all of their material and richness until 4-5 years after the vintage.  (8/2013)

92 points Vinous

 The 2010 Syrah Patrina impresses for its silky, perfumed personality. A harbinger of what is to come with the rest of the Alban 2010s stylistically, the Patrina is drop-dead gorgeous. Fine, silky tannins support a core of expressive dark red fruits in a delineated, vibrant wine. Today, the bouquet is a bit reduced, otherwise, this is a fine showing. If the aromatics come together more fully the 2010 will merit a higher score. Nevertheless, the 2010 is a terrific effort in a year that was quite challenging for Grenache because of the poor set. None of Alban Syrahs can be said to be inexpensive, but this is one of the best relative values and hidden gems in the range. Drinking window: 2013 - 2022 John Alban's 2009s are just as beautiful from bottle as they were from barrel. Overall, the wines are relatively open, succulent and accessible, although the most structured wines in this range will clearly benefit from further time in bottle. Alban fans will also want to check out the Forsythe The Mason (Mourvedre) as well as two new wines being made under the North label, all listed separately in this issue.  (7/2013)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright purple. Heady scents of blueberry, boysenberry and cassis, with a smoky topnote. Broad, sappy and nicely concentrated, offering sweet dark fruit flavors complemented by notes of Indian spices, olive, and bitter chocolate. A rich, deep but lively syrah that finishes spicy and long, with very soft tannins. Alban told me that this fruit was picked at a very low 21.8 Brix, in November.  (12/2013)

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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.