2014 Ojai Santa Barbara County Syrah

SKU #1256894 92 points Vinous

 The 2014 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is a superb appellation-level wine from Oaji. Black pepper, lavender, menthol, licorice, cloves and sage abound in a deep, fleshy wine bursting at the seams with character and personality. Expressive blue and purplish-hued fruits and grippy tannins leave a lasting impression. (AG)  (9/2016)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Possessing lots of cool climate characteristics in its peppery, blackberry, violets and mineral-laced aromas and flavors, the 2014 Syrah Santa Barbara is fresh, elegant and medium-bodied on the palate, with nicely integrated acidity and fine tannin. It's a classy, easy drinking Syrah that has real character. I always love my visits with Ojai’s Adam Tolmack and Fabien Castel, and it's always an educational and enlightening tasting as I'm able to taste through a multitude of different sites spread throughout Santa Barbara County. In addition, the Special Bottling releases based on different harvesting dates add even another variable into the equation. While I certainly believe they’ve pushed too far into the early harvesting movement, with an overriding focus on freshness and acidity, the wines nevertheless always possess interesting, balanced profiles and are a joy to drink. (JD)  (8/2016)

K&L Notes

This entry-level Syrah is blended from 53% Sebastiano Syrah, 22% Roll Ranch Syrah, 6% White Hawk Syrah, 5% Bien Nacido Syrah, and 14% Sebastiano Grenache. The wine was fermented in small open topped fermenters using 25% whole clusters and was pressed off into mostly older French oak barrels for 12 months of aging.

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Price: $29.99

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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.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez 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