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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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."
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 Antonio Galloni: "Darker tonalities of fruit emerge from the 2012 Syrah Eddie's Patch Hoppe-Kelly Vineyard. Deep and powerful, the 2012 presents a brooding, intense expression of Syrah, with plenty of dark red and blue fruit overtones. I imagine the 2012 will provide readers with a long, broad drinking window of pure pleasure. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at DuMol this year. Winemaker Andy Smith is no longer at Larkmead and is now solely focused on DuMol, which can only be a good thing for these wines. Many of the 2012s, the Pinots in particular, were e ...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 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 complicate ...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 »
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 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 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 »
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)
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."
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 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 »
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.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Fresh, lively and sleek, with red berry, raspberry and spice box flavors in a neat package, lingering expressively. Drink now through 2017. 34,740 cases made." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The forward, juicy, quaffable and delicious 2013 Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah was co-fermented with 3% Viognier, with 100% whole clusters, and aged on lees in tank prior to bottling. Juicy blackberry, pepper, wild herbs and a touch of licorice all show in this nicely balanced, medium-bodied, forward and easygoing effort. There’s not a lot of depth here, but that’s not the point, and this ...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 »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark red cherry, plum, smoke and spice notes flesh out in the 2012 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard. A rich, ample wine, the 2012 dazzles with its depth and soft contours, although there is plenty of underlying weight and structure. The 2012 was made with fully destemmed fruit, so the fruit remains front and center. This fleshy, super-expressive Syrah will drink beautifully pretty much right out of the gate. Tasted next to the No SO2 bottling, the straight John Sebastiano Syrah is a bit less exuberant, but it, too, is very beautiful. This wind-swept site i ...Read More »
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 »
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 »
Spicerack's 2012 "Punchdown" Syrah comes from two vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. Of the two, the more northerly vineyard contributoed the wine's peppery freshness, while the more southern vineyard added bright fruit and firm tannins. This is a great value Syrah made for drinking now!
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)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "A gorgeous, resonant wine, the 2013 Syrah Clary Ranch is a real standout. Savory and floral overtones add nuance to the dark fruit in a rich, resonant wine built on texture. Here, too, the 100% whole clusters are pretty much buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. Silky and pliant through to the finish, the 2013 Clary Ranch should drink beautifully for the next decade-plus. (AG)" (1/2015) K&L Notes: Former Pax assistant winemaker Duncan Arnot Meyers and cooper Nathan Roberts produce beautiful, terroir-driven, varietally pure small production wines. They launched ... 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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More forward than the 2011, the 2012 Syrah Alturas has beautiful, gamey dark berry and raspberry-like fruits, olive, peppercorn and hints of road tar to go with a medium to full-bodied, supple and superbly textured feel on the palate. Possesses good concentration, a soft, easy going mid-palate and nicely integrated acidity, this is already drinking nicely, but will evolve gracefully over the coming 6-8 years. These northern California beauties are made by Paul Gordon and Scott Shapley, with a focus on their estate Halcon Vineyard located in the Mendocin ...Read More »
"DuMOL fashions three noteworthy Syrahs which probably receive less attention than they should because of the winery’s high visibility and credibility for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir," according to Robert Parker, who scored the 2012 vintage 94 points in December, 2014. DuMol wines, made by winemaker Andy Smith, are consistently a hit with Wine Spectator and Antonio Galloni, as well.
95 points Connoisseurs Guide: "***Three Stars*** This imposing Syrah is decked out with lots of sweet oak and plentiful varietal spice, and, if never less than highly ripened, it gives up nothing in the way of well-defined fruit in its reach for richness. Moderately full, slightly supple in feel and firmed by an ample spine of youthful tannin, it is a concentrated, energetic, genuinely layered and incredibly captivating offering that will grow and deepen with five years of age." (11/2004)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A completely different animal is the 2002 Syrah Griffin’s Vineyard, from a cool climate, windy, Son ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Our friends at Black Sheep Finds, a project which began in 2005 when Peter Hunken (Piedrasassi/Holus Bolus) and Amy Christine (AOC Restaurant) make bottled their first Syrah under the "Hocus Pocus" label. It developed an immediate cult following and since then their production has expanded to include a small range of delicious wines that offer great value for the money. The 2012 is a blend of Syrah from two vineyards - the cool Watch Hill Vineyard in Los Alamos and warmer, sustainably farmed Harrison-Clarke Vineyard - that was aged for 12 months in one-y... 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.
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Bright violet color. Smoky dark berries and pungent flowers on the mineral-driven nose, with a touch of licorice adding interest. Nervy, focused and pure, offering vibrant, spice-accented blackberry and cassis flavors sharpened by bright minerality. Finishes smoky, sweet and long, with repeating notes of black and blue fruits and violet. Making so many different wines from different varieties and vineyards "keeps the mind active," according to Adam Tolmach, and it also "keeps you curious-it's impossible to fall into a rut." Assistant winemaker Fabien C ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Syrah Clifton Vineyard gives up loads of wood smoke, tobacco, olive and black currant, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, solid mid-palate depth and sweet tannin that emerges on the finish. It still has some oak to integrate, so give it a year in the cellar and enjoy bottles over the following 7 to 8 years. One of the highlight (and largest) tastings for this report, the team at K Vintners consists of wild man himself, Charles Smith, and Andrew Latta and Brennon Leighton. Despite the rock star persona, when it comes to the wines, these ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
93 points from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Glass-staining purple. Spicy raspberry and candied cherry aromas are complicated by smoky minerals, dark chocolate and fresh violet. Sweet red berry flavors show very good depth and definition, with subtle anise, smoke and violet pastille qualities building with air. The clean finish offers a brisk bite of cracked pepper, a touch of darker fruit and very persistent spiciness. This very seductive syrah displays no rough edges and wonderful energy." (May/June '11) If more California Syrahs tas... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Heady, exotically perfumed bouquet of blackberry, cherry-cola, licorice and incense, with a note of violet in the background. Sweet, ripe, silky and expansive, with a nervy spine of acidity providing focus to the sweet red and dark berry compote flavors. Sexy and approachable already but this seamless, very long syrah has the depth to age." (5/2012) K&L Notes: Peay's estate La Bruma Vineyard is one of the coolest sites in California growing Syrah. This translates to a style of Syrah more reminiscent in aroma and flavor to those produced in France's Rh... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright purple. Sexy black raspberry and floral aromas are complicated by smoky minerals, Moroccan spices and a hint of licorice. Silky, alluringly sweet dark berry flavors pack a serious punch but come off as almost weightless, with tangy minerality adding spine and back-end cut. Gains weight and power with air and finishes with lingering smokiness and a hint of candied violet. This clocks in at a low 13.4% alcohol but hardly wants for power, depth or ripeness." (5/2011) Wine & Spirits: "A warm Syrah with the caramelized flavors of toasted oak, this is gentle, peppery and ...Read More »
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 »
Inventory: Redwood City