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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "The Syrah Tous les Jours is a quintisential Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. It is simultaneously Bold and Balanced, Rich and Smooth, Fruit Forward and Earthy. It is impossibly dark and full-bodied, without ever going over the top. It is heavily inspired by Northern Rhone Syrah (Hermitage) and Australian Shiraz (Barossa Valley). The aromas and flavors are dominated by black cherry, raspberry, white pepper, forest floor and toasty oak. It is absolutely unique and special expression of Syrah. Moreover, It is a style that one can enjoy every day." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Do you eve... Read More »
Arguably the most popular of the co-branded wines with our staff last year was the 2010 version of this wine so it had a lot to live up to this year. The good news is the staff is every bit as excited about it this year and we hope that enthusiasm will rub off on you. Bob Lindquist was more than happy to work with us again this year and put together this 100% Syrah bottling from certified Demeter Bio-Dynamically grown vines in the cool Edna Valley Appellation. Unmistakably Syrah from the first sniff of the nose the bold cracked black pepper, fried bacon,... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Richness (of both flavor and texture) marks this deeply colored, full-bodied Syrah. Aromas of ripe blackberry and licorice coupled with flavors of clove and blackberry jam make it luscious yet not overly big. It has the firm tannins and good balance for aging through 2019." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The classic 2012 Syrah 6th Sense does not compete flavor-wise with the two Cabernets or the Petite Petit, but it is an attractive, supple, full-bodied, black-fruited Syrah offering notes of roasted meats, black olive tapenade, and blackberries. Soft, round an ...Read More »
A perennial value-based favorite, Ravenswood's Vintners Blend Shiraz packs big punches full of mulberry, dark chocolate and roasted meats. Made by one of California's iconic producers.
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Inky purple. Highly perfumed aromas of dark fruit liqueur, potpourri and incense, with a peppery spice quality emerging with air. Juicy blackberry and blueberry flavors are complicated by notes of allspice and violet, with a smoky quality sneaking in on the back end. Supple tannins build with air and give shape to the long, spicy, penetrating finish. Very fresh and very syrah, with fruit to burn. While Qupe is now partnered with Charles Banks' Terroir Selections group, Bob Lindquist is still very much present and in charge here. Like his longtime stabl ...Read More »
Copain's Tous Ensemble wines are approachable, everyday drinkers sourced from fine Mendocino County vineyards. The character is food-friendly and versatile for a pop-and-pour with some pedigree. From the winery: "Our 2012 Tous Ensemble Syrah is a medium-bodied blend of grapes from Mendocino County. The body is lightly textured with medium tannins. Bright acidity accents the palate of dark brambly fruits, hard spices and an earthy core. Drink now, though it will improve over the course of five years."
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated bright ruby. Reticent, high-pitched aromas of black raspberry, kirsch, licorice and violet, complemented by some sweet oak. Very ripe, dense and smooth, showing an almost liqueur-like quality to its black cherry and saline flavors. Not at all overly sweet but the tannins are suave and fine-grained. This has enough juicy energy to expand in the bottle. As in most recent vintage, a terrific value in Washington Syrah." (12/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "Focused, dense and polished, with blackberry, cherry and floral flavors on a glassy, smooth texture, lingering easily and ...Read More »
Patrina is Alban Vineyards' entry level Syrah bottling which is sourced from newer parcels of estate-grown fruit. This 2012 bottling has not yet been professionally reviewed, but the 2011 vintage garnered 93 points both from Antonio Galloni as well as Jeb Dunnuck writing for Wine Advocate.
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah Motor City Kitty is another incredible Syrah from this estate that does everything right (including selling for a crazy low price). Giving up plenty of creme de cassis, licorice, crushed rock and subtle vanilla nuances, it’s full-bodied and incredibly polished on the palate, with ultra-fine tannin structure and gorgeous concentration that never seems cumbersome or heavy. Made from 100% Syrah and coming all from sandy soils, it’s blockbuster stuff that will have 10-15 years of longevity." (6/2014)
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Coming from one of Ballard Canyon’s premiere vineyards, this offers aromas of black cherry, wet black loam and morning dew on sage. The mouthfeel is all silk, and flavors are savory, with elderberries, crushed sage and wild mint." (2/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "(made with 50% whole clusters and raised in concrete tanks): Opaque ruby. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit aromas are lifted and sharpened by cracked pepper and fresh flowers. Spicy and penetrating on the palate, with juicy blackcurrant and boysenberry flavors framed and lifted by tangy acidity. This suave, powerful, ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a major sleeper of the vintage as well as a great value in California Syrah from Karen Culler. Made from 100% Syrah, it offers up luscious notes of ripe blackberry fruit, incense and a touch of white flowers. Deep and medium to full-bodied with silky tannins and a layered mouthfeel, this terrific wine can be enjoyed over the next 7-8 years. It is hard to believe one can find such a delicious Syrah for under $50 a bottle, so move quickly. (RP)" (12/2014)
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright purple. Youthfully wound-up aromas of blackberry, mulberry and violet, plus a strong note of licorice. Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors are given an exotic character by notes of violet pastille and star anise. Supple and expansive on the firm, gripping, intensely spicy finish. This textbook syrah should age well. (ST)" (5/2011) Antonio Galloni: "The 2009 Syrah Estate Vineyard shows the wilder side of the grape in its red cherries, black pepper, spices and herbs. Medium in body, it possesses good balance and energy through to the finish. (AG)" (8/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Syrah E ...Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 100% Syrah and most likely the best vintage of the wine to date, the 2012 Syrah Boushey Vineyard Arnaut is a smoking-barrel sample that’s loaded with potential. Blackberry, pepper, bloody meat, salty minerality and earth are just some of the nuances here. This full-bodied effort has fantastic texture, substantial, yet sweet tannin and a terrific finish. It should evolve nicely for 3-4 years and drink well through 2027." (6/2014)95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice" This wine shines with notes of smoked meat, mineral, dark coffee and earthy funk. The flavors are de ...Read More »
What do you get when you cross a master sommelier and a winemaking family powerhouse? You get Luli, the brainchild of Sara Floyd—som, owner of Swirl Wines, veteran of the biz—and the Pisoni Family—the "masters of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation" according to wine writer Jon Bonné. Luli is a love letter to the Santa Lucia Highlands region, with hand-crafted Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinots, and Syrahs that showcase the unique Central Coast terroir at prices that don't break the bank. Their Syrah is made with classic techniques: native yeasts, h... Read More »
90-92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Syrah is one of the real overachievers in this range. Mike Officer did not think his flagship Papa's Block Syrah was good enough to be bottled on its own, so it was blended with a parcel of Sonoma Mountain fruit for this year's Syrah. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke and licorice all jump from the glass in a plump, extroverted Syrah to drink while the fruit retains its juiciness. Hints of lavender, violets, mint and dark spices wrap around the finish. I am not sure I have met a winery owner quite like Mike Officer before. Of course, Officer is well- ...Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Opaque ruby. Aromas of cassis, cherry compote, cured tobacco and pungent flowers, with a note of black olive emerging with air. Fleshy, sweet and seamless in texture, offering round dark fruit preserve and bitter chocolate flavors plus a hint of spicecake. Fine-grained tannins give shape to the finish, which features a sexy floral nuance and a touch of candied violet. In a fairly savory style, which will make it very flexible at the table. (JR)" (12/2014)
95 points Connoisseurs Guide: "***Three Stars*** Intensely spicy with a wealth of pepper and game tagging it as Syrah in no uncertain terms yet also wonderfully deep in ongoing blackberry-like fruit, this exquisitely structured wine manages to be big, balanced and uncommonly well-polished all at the same time. It is showy in some ways and still nascent in others, and it impresses as a wine with great places to go. It would be a shame to pour it before its fifth or sixth birthday, and it should continue to grow for at least twice as long." (11/2014)94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Syrah Jack Robert's Run Grego ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Opaque ruby. Black and blue fruits on the nose, complicated by notes of black cardamom and candied violet. Spicy and precise on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering sweet blackberry and boysenberry flavors lifted by zesty acidity. The smoky, sweet, clinging finish leaves a note of cracked pepper behind." (5/2012)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a notable wine for its smooth, supple tannins and its intense flavors of black cherry jam, mocha, bacon, black pepper and sandalwood. It’s a full-bodied selection for drinking soon, and be sure to pair it with almost anything i ...Read More »
Willowbrook is a largely under-the-radar label from Joe Otos, winemaker at Owl Ridge Wines in Sebastopol. We've got some great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from choice vineyards from Willowbrook in the past, and now this Syrah. It comes from the Altes Vineyard, located in the Rincon Valley area in the middle of Sonoma County--not far from the hot Kick Ranch vineyard.
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Aged in 100% new 500 liter barrels, the 2011 Syrah The Hidden Northridge Vineyard is an incredible Syrah that gives up pure aromas and flavors of blackberry, ground pepper, minerality, and dried spices and hints of vanilla in its full-bodied, elegant and seamless profile. Slightly more mid-weight than prior vintages, yet with beautiful concentration and solid mid-palate depth, it has enough tannin and richness to evolve gracefully for over a decade as well. (JD)" (6/2014)93 points Antonio Galloni: "Bright red-ruby. A sexy balsamic note adds interest to the aromas of raspberry, red l ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Edmunds St. John is a Rhône blend specialist making wine in Berkeley, California since 1985. The Fenaughty Vineyard, located at 2,800 feet on the south side of the American River where the soils are volcanic clay-loam, produces a smokey, gamy wine that just might be a dead-ringer for young Crozes-Hermitage. Winemaker's tasting note: "Quite dark purply-red. Deep nose showing violet notes, and smoke, a bit of blackberry-leaf. Medium-to-full body on the palate, with engaging texture, and good freshness. Flavors nicely balanced, and lengthy, but only showing... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "An intensely grapey and extracted red, featuring pure, chunky blackberry, wild berry, black licorice, smoke, graphite and cedary oak notes. Ends with a dense, chewy aftertaste. Best from 2016 through 2028." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Each vintage of Eric Kent wines, and each individual release, bears a label with unique artwork commissioned by the winery. Another work of art: Eric Kent manages to maintain wine buyers' intense interest in their concentrated, flavorful Syrahs.
Mick Unti says this about his delicious red: "This 2012 Syrah really illustrates the best attributes of this excellent vintage. It is very dark, with intense blue and blackberry fruit, licorice and spice. It might be the most full-bodied normale Syrah we’ve made in years. If you drink this wine now, you might consider decanting it. I’m counting on this Syrah to age nicely over the next 4 to 7 years."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Saturated ruby. A sexy, highly perfumed bouquet evokes spicy black and blue fruits, violet and woodsmoke. Varietally expressive flavors of densely packed cassis and boysenberry flavors, with suggestions of olive and spicecake. Dusty tannins give a firm structural underpinning to the long smoky, floral finish." (12/2014)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Deep and rich aromas of blackberry syrup and wet slate kick off this excellent, approachable representation of Santa Barbara County’s new Ballard Canyon appellation. It’s both juicy and tannic once sipped, tasty with blackberry and slight c ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This wine is a blend of four distinctive sites-Minick and Olsen in the Yakima Valley, and SJR and Stoney Vine in the Walla Walla Valley. It pulls together the best of all of them, with brooding notes of mineral, wet stone, earthy funk, coffee, smoked meat and black and green olive. The palate steals the show, with hypnotic savory flavors that coalesce around a vibrant, extended finish. It’s a textural marvel that is simply impossible to put down." (7/2015) 91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the 2012’s, and the first vintage for the cuvee, the 2012 Syrah Columbia ...Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Bob Lindquist blends fruit from cool climates like the Santa Maria and Edna valleys with warmer-climate fruit from Paso Robles for this bottling. The 2012 is pretty great, especially considering the price, offering the full range of Syrah fruit, from smoky depths to clean blue fruit to lifted floral and peppercorn aromas. It’s lively and gripping, for smoked pork." (10/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Highly perfumed aromas of dark fruit liqueur, potpourri and incense, with a peppery spice quality emerging with air. Juicy blackberry and blueberry flavors are complicate ...Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Syrah North Coast is another fabulous, budget-friendly wine. Supple and silky on the palate, with exceptional overall balance, the 2013 delivers remarkable complexity and nuance for the money. Dark red stone fruits, smoke, tobacco, incense and orange peel are laced into the super-expressive finish. The 2013 is a blend of fruit from Hudson. Weill and Kick Ranch, done with 60% whole clusters and drops of Viognier. It's always a treat to see what Morgan Twain Peterson and his colleague Chris Cottrell are up to at Bedrock, where the focus is on sho ...Read More »
Pinot may be the big star of Santa Barbara, especially since the movie Sideways, after which the Hitching Post and its wines have been very popular indeed. But Syrah...needs care and attention too, you know? And it can only grow--really well, anyway--in these really specific, tucked away corners of the world--like Santa Barbara County. And only the most patient and nurturing of vintners can make great wine out of it. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Syrah's potential...can coax it into its fullest expression.
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Syrah bursts from the glass with dark red cherry, plum, smoke, lavender and sweet spices. Ample and juicy on the palate, the 2012 is an excellent choice for drinking over the next few years. The style is soft and fruit-forward, with no hard edges and terrific overall balance. (AG)" (7/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tasted from bottle, the 2012 Syrah Santa Barbara County is a year-in and year-out outstanding wine, as well as a smoking value. Loaded with notions of plum, blackberry, licorice, violets, and hints of olive, this medium to full-bodied, delicious, forward Syrah ...Read More »
96-98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "No 2011 was produced, but the 2012 Syrah Rodger’s Creek Vineyard includes 12% Viognier co-fermented with 88% Syrah. It displays terrific aromas of spring flowers, crème de cassis, blackberries, coffee and incense. Unctuously textured and dense with oodles of fruit and glycerin as well as a long, heady finish, this fabulous Syrah should drink well for a decade or more. (RP)" (12/2014)94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Syrah Rodgers Creek Vineyard is the most delicate and refined of Ramey's 2012 Syrahs. Here the fruit is red-toned and quite pretty, with floral and spice overtones th ...Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah River Rock Vineyards comes all from The Rocks region of Walla Walla and was fermented with 100% whole clusters. Giving up massive minerality, with ground herbs, gunpowder, smoked earth, olive and assorted dark fruits, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant feel and notable tannin that comes through on the finish. As with the Rock Garden Syrah, it should have 10 to 15 years of prime drinking. One of the highlight (and largest) tastings for this report, the team at K Vintners consists of wild man himself, ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A rich, meaty and slightly gamey effort that oozes Syrah character, the 2011 Syrah Holus Bolus delivers beautiful blackberry, raspberry, smoked bacon, saddle leather and hints of pepper that flow to a medium to full-bodied, balanced and beautifully constructed palate. Juicy and rich, yet with bright acidity, it has an upfront, delicious feel and should be consumed over the coming 3-4 years. It’s very well done and well worth seeking out! Drink now-2018. (JD)" (8/2013)
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Syrah Estate is gorgeous. Dark, red and plummy, the 2012 impresses for the purity of its fruit and radiance. Peay does not have a mid-tier Sonoma Coast bottling, so all the fruit that does not go into the two single-vineyard Syrahs goes into this tasty, entry-level bottling. Sweet floral notes grace the silky finish. Peay does an excellent job with Cep, their sister label of budget-friendly wines. All of these current releases are tasty. The Syrah is the standout, as it is made up of declassified barrels of the two Peay vineyard designate, Syra ...Read More »
94-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The largest-scaled Colson Canyon to date, the 2013 Syrah Colson Canyon is classic cassis, black raspberry, graphite and toasty notes to go with a full-bodied, concentrated and layered profile on the palate. This got a big “Wow” in the notes, and while it doesn’t pull any punches with regards to fruit or texture, it stays lively and elegant. It will have 10-15 years of longevity. This is another great lineup by Joey Tensley. He has a couple new releases in the lineup (Syrah 27m and the Tensley Vineyard), and his single vineyard releases continue to offe ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard is a soft, supple and forward effort that dishes out rocking black raspberry, cassis, licorice, white pepper and hints of gaminess on the nose. All Syrah, completely destemmed, and aged in 40% new French oak, enjoy this medium to full-bodied, sexy effort over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)" (8/2014)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This entry-level look at the family vineyard that overlooks Ballard Canyon and beyond brings scents of graphite, pepper, blackberry and dried, slightly dank herbs. It’s tight and tart at first on the palate, with skins of b ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "A robust style, brimming with dark berry, black cherry and plum flavors. Firmly tannic, yet with a measure of finesse and grace, ending with complex tiers of cedar, dark berry, spice and nutmeg. Drink now through 2024." (12/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright purple. Lively, spice-accented aromas of black and blue fruits, with a smoky topnote that builds with air. Shows good depth as well as vivacity to its blackberry and bitter cherry flavors. Finishes peppery and precise, with supple tannins adding shape and back-end grip. Quite northern Rhone in style and approachable now ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Opaque ruby. Vibrant dark berry, olive and floral scents are complemented by notes of cracked pepper and smoky Indian spices. Very syrah, offering sweet blackberry, violet pastille and fruitcake flavors braced by juicy acidity. Shows very good clarity and energy on the finish, which features silky tannins and a late note of candied flowers. This is a superb value in elegant California Syrah." (12/2013) K&L Notes: Joey Tensley commented, "This vintage we've done a little something different with the Santa Barbara County blend by bringing the cool climate Mormann V... Read More »
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright purple. Vibrant raspberry, cherry, potpourri and incense on the sharply focused, highly expressive nose. Dense, juicy and sweet, with graceful strawberry and raspberry flavors and a supple, seamless texture. Picks up spiciness and floral character, as well as a hint of smoke, with a few minutes of aeration. Finishes very long, with gentle tannins and a strong note of candied flowers. I marginally prefer this wine's elegance to the power of the Les Titans today." (5/2010) K&L Notes: La Bruma ("the mist or fog") pays tribute to the role fog plays in producing th... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
According to Robert Parker: "...offers a big, delicious, fruit-forward attack... Deep ruby/purple-colored, with a sweet nose of blackberries and licorice, it reveals medium body as well as an austere finish. It should drink well for 6-8 years." (12/03)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Jeff Runquist helped to introduce Syrah to the program at J. Lohr Winery when he worked there in the early 1990s. "At the time we were unfamiliar with Syrah, and so we spent quite some time exploring the various styles and flavors this grape produced," according to Runquist. Despite appreciating the "terroir-driven character" of Old World Syrah, with its earthy, flinty, and dusty aromas and flavors, he was smitten with deeply flavored old vine Syrah from McClaren Vale and the Barrosa Valley of South Australia, which he attempts to emulate with his Paso R... Read More »
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2006 Broken Stones (63% Syrah, 24% Grenache, and 13% Mourvedre) blew me away. An inky/purple color and a dazzling, explosive bouquet of black raspberries, camphor, cassis, forest floor, and spring flowers are followed by a rich, elegant wine offering laser-like precision as well as a striking minerality. It is a powerful yet graceful effort that should drink well for 10-12+ years. One of California’s super-star producers, Saxum owns one of the state’s most remarkable vineyard sites, the James Berry Vineyard, which has been broken into a number of dif ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This bottling is the winery’s most expensive wine, and usually its best. Production of the ’08 was unusually low, resulting in amazing concentration. It’s basically a detonation of cherries, raspberries, currants, cola and mocha. New oak is present, in the form of delicate toast and wood spice, but is balanced. So silky and delicious now, you can drink it, but the tannic balance suggests the cellar. Will evolve over the next 12 years, maybe longer." (10/2013)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A gorgeous bottle of wine, the 2008 Syrah Bien Nacido X Block 30th Anniversary ...Read More »
From international sommelier Leo Hansen. The winery's note: "This wine offers both the sweet and the savory, with a heady mix of violet, Kirsch, smoked meats, anise and black olives. On the palate, it is firm and full-bodied, with an age-worthy, almost Cabernet like structure. An acid-driven freshness underscores the flavors, adding length and dimension to this sophisticated Syrah." This wine was fermented as 100% whole clusters with indigenous yeast in an open-top fermenter using the traditional pigeage method. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation occurr... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
For more than four decades, Joseph Swan has been renowned primarily for their Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The Syrah is just as in intriguing. This was bottled in March, 2012. The winemaker's note: "Medium deep ruby color. The aromas show less leather/bacon than in years past but it still is a major element, followed by plums with a hint of morel mushroom and wintergreen in the background. In the mouth it is less tannic than the early vintages but the tannin is more than sufficient to give it structure and depth. Dare I say it? It is almost 'elegant'! A ver... Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Opaque ruby. Blackberry, camphor and candied licorice on the pungent nose, with a hint of pipe tobacco building in the glass. Broad and sweet, with fleshy dark berry compote flavors lifted by a palate-numbing jolt of cracked pepper. Very syrah. Closes spicy, smoky and long, with repeating floral character and smooth, even tannins coming up late. (JR)" (12/2014)
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The inky-colored 2011 Intrepid checks in as a blend of 100% Syrah that spent 22 months in 50% new French oak barrels. It's another smoking effort from this estate that gives up classy framboise, black licorice, chocolatey oak and toasted spice to go with a full-bodied, layered and thrillingly pure profile on the palate. Top class all the way, it will be better in another year and have upward of a decade of longevity. Located high up on the west side of Paso Robles, at an elevation of 1,950 feet, Law Estate is run by Don and Susie Law and the wines are ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City