2011 Carlisle "Sierra Mar" Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah (Previously $50)

SKU #1136165 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Exotic, smoke- and spice-laced dark berry aromas show impressive power and clarity. Offers an array of sweet black and blue fruit flavors and notes of allspice and licorice that gain intensity with air. Chewy, penetrating and precise, with excellent finishing cut and spicy persistence.  (5/2013)

91-93 points Vinous

 A super ripe, racy wine 2011 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard bursts from the glass in fifth gear. Dark black fruit, tar, licorice and smoke are among the bevy of aromas and flavors that emerge from this huge, full-bodied wine. Not a wine for the timid, the 2011 Sierra Mar is super-intense and breathtakingly beautiful. It is another promising wine from this newly developed site. (AG)  (7/2013)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 More smoke, tar and licorice show up in the 2011 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard with more lavender and black olive emerging with time in the glass. Rich, decadent and voluptuous, with big structure, it’s not quite as backwards or formidable as the Rosella’s, with more overall ripeness, and should be approachable at an earlier age. (JD)  (8/2013)

90 points Wine Spectator

 A solid effort, rich and savory, with a tight core of dark berry, spice, cedar, road tar and tobacco leaf, gaining depth and firming on the finish, where the tannins have a dry edge.  (11/2013)

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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.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Lucia Highlands