2005 Ojai "Roll Ranch Vineyard" California Syrah

SKU #1054634

96 points and three stars from The Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: "A perennial CGCW favorite when it comes to top-flight Syrah, Ojai Vineyard grabs the gold ring once again in 2005. The latest Roll Ranch bottling is a dense, compellingly fruited effort whose classic mix of blackberries, dark earth, white pepper, sweet oak and game tags it as this Issue's most exciting. It is at once both supple and sturdy with lots of heft on the palate, and, while its ample tannins are impossible to miss, they never threaten its keen, long-lasting fruit. As plain as the wine's many virtues may be, this is not one for drinking anytime soon, and those who are able to store a few bottles in the cellar will certainly want to exercise at least five years of patience." (Nov. 2009) 91 points from Robert Parker: "Always one of Ojai’s softer, more opulent efforts, the dark ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Syrah Roll Ranch reveals sweet notes of mocha, licorice, blackberries, and cassis. It does not possess the definition and delineation of its siblings, but it offers excellent to outstanding depth, a beautiful, round texture, and plenty of fruit and opulence. Enjoy it over the next 7-8 years." (Aug. 2009) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Despite the California appellation, the grapes were grown in the Ojai region of Santa Barbara County. It’s a dry, tannic wine whose ripe blackberry, mocha and oak flavors are balanced with rich earthiness. Could develop bottle complexity over the next six years." (3/1/09)

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Price: $37.99
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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.


- 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.