2012 Alta Colina "Toasted Slope" Paso Robles Syrah

SKU #1258522 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Another sensational effort that does everything right is the 2012 Syrah Toasted Slope. Similarly concentrated as the Old 900, it has more elegance, fine tannin and polish to go with full-bodied, ripe, decadent notes of cassis, licorice, smoked herbs, pepper and violets. The blend here is 90% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 2% Viognier, all of which saw the same elevage as the other reds here (67% new French oak for the Syrah, 8% new for the Grenache). Drink this inky colored, balanced and layered beauty anytime over the coming decade. (JD)  (8/2015)

91 points Vinous

 Inky purple. Intense, smoke-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, licorice and peppery spices. Shows both richness and vivacity, offering energetic blackberry and blueberry flavors and an exotic suggestion of star anise. A floral nuance comes up with air and carries through a long, gently tannic finish, with the smoky note echoing. (JR)  (9/2015)

Jancis Robinson

 90% Syrah, 8% Grenache, 2% Viognier. Violet potpourri lifted over a meaty base of smoked sweet Italian sausage. Taut, focused tannin. Lean, well focused. Lots of persistence and length. Will benefit from some time in bottle. 17+/20 points. Drink 2018-2030. (ECB)  (11/2015)

Wine Spectator

 Compact and brooding, with notes of crushed rock, dried cherry and cedar. The tannins firm up the finish. Best after 2017. (Web-2016, TF)

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Price: $49.99
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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:

Paso Robles

- Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this inland AVA enjoys a sunny and hot growing period while its seaside neighbors hang in the fog. Zinfandel is the traditional red grape of choice, though cabernet, chardonnay, and Rhône varietals are gaining favor. Most are made in a fruit-forward, early drinking style.