2006 Clendenen "Rancho La Cuna" Santa Maria Valley Syrah/Viognier

SKU #1159565 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky ruby. Spice- and smoke-accented dark berries and licorice on the highly fragrant nose. Plush and open-knit, offering gently sweet blueberry and cherry compote flavors and a touch of cracked pepper. A floral note builds with air and carries through a long, gently tannic finish, which shows very good energy. This drinks very well now, especially with an hour or so of aeration.  (11/ 2013)

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Price: $34.99

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Product Reviews:

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By: Jim Boyce |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/20/2014  | Send Email
The 2005 was a hit among both staff and customers last year, and the 2006 will not disappoint! Very Cote-Rotie like, once again, with a touch of Viognier floral notes complementing bacon fat, peppered jerky, black pepper, and dark red fruit from the Syrah. Deliciously rich and savory wine that is approachable now but will drink for quite a few years to come!

By: Bryan Brick |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/19/2014  | Send Email
On a personal level, when we rediscovered the Clendenen Family wines last year the 2005 Syrah/Viognier was my favorite wine of the bunch. So I was very excited to taste the new 2006 vintage of the same wine when we visited the winery back in March. I have to say, I was a little worried that it couldn’t live up to the intensity, power and floral reserve that the 2005 had, but my fears quickly turned to joy when I tasted the 2006. Maybe a better overall wine at this stage in its life, the 2006 is full of dried lavender, cassis, menthol and a wealth of meatiness in both flavor and texture. Savory at its core and lush at the edges, this wine comes at you in waves of peppered beef, pastilles, violet and briary wild berry fruit. With all the modernizing in the Rhone Valley, both North and South, I think this wine may be more “traditional” than most Cote-Rotie on the market today. It certainly is much less expensive at the very least.

By: Angie An |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/12/2014  | Send Email
Did I smell classic Cote Rotie in Santa Maria? The Clendenen Rancho La Cuna follows the French Cote Rotie style of blending in Viognier (10%) with their Syrah. I don't know who thought of this first, but it was genius. In this glass I immediately notice the classic black pepper notes from the Syrah together with the beautiful florals brought out by the Viognier. The nose was focus, sharp, and intense with red cherry, black olive, smoked meat, and savory peppery finish. It is complex, full bodied and made me want to take another sip. Cheers! Here's to another great wine by the Clendenen Family!

By: Jason Marwedel |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/6/2014  | Send Email
This is easily one of my favorite domestic wines in the store! Highly aromatic, with a nose of savory dark fruit, lavender, herbs, garrigue and cracked black pepper. This wine smacks of the Northern Rhone, but offers accessibility without the requisite 10 years of cellaring. That said, this wine has the chops to sit under the house for another decade.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- 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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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 Sants Inez 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 (%): 13.5