2017 Tensley "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Syrah

SKU #1399051 97 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The quality from this vineyard has skyrocketed since Tensley purchased the site and took over the farming, and that’s never been more apparent than with the 2017 Syrah Colson Canyon, which is another “finest to date” for the cuvée. Blackberries, toasted spice, herbes de Provence, ground pepper, bacon fat, and violet notes all emerge from the glass, and it offers that rare sense of power and texture paired with a sense of weightlessness and elegance. With a massive personality, building tannins, and a finish that won't quit, it's another sensational wine. 97+  (10/2019)

95 points Wine Spectator

 Deeply structured yet rich and polished, with smoked meat, huckleberry and garrigue notes that jaunt toward big but refined tannins on the finish. (TF)  (1/2019)

94 points Vinous

 The 2017 Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard is dense and full-bodied, with all of the natural concentration it has always shown, but with softer contours and wonderful plushness. Succulent red cherry, plum, licorice, pomegranate and wild flowers build in a racy, flamboyant Syrah loaded with personality and character. (AG)  (9/2019)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 From vines planted in 1997 at 1,400 feet in elevation, the deep ruby-purple colored 2017 Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard (25% new oak) gives up chocolate-covered cherries, crushed stone, pencil shavings, black cherry jam, smoked meats and pepper with red berry sparks. The medium to full-bodied palate is silky and intense with firm, pleasantly chewy tannins and great freshness, finishing long and layered. Yum! (EB)  (9/2019)

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Price: $39.95

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By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/6/2019 | Send Email
Joey Tensely and I both started in the wine business in the late 90's. Since then, he’s become a staple of the Central Coast wine scene, turning some of the areas best Syrah based wines. Accolades and critical reviews have been bestowed upon his wines in regular fashion. The praise has all been well earned. The Colson Canyon Syrah holds a dear place in his heart as he was able to acquire it in 2016 though he’s been making fruit from it since 2000. This wine is a real class act representing all I love about varietally correct Syrah. The wine has all the tell tale dark fruits, hints of baking spice, cocoa, and just a faint wiff of bacon. It’s silky smooth in your mouth but leaves a trail on your palate to savor for minutes. This is one more reason why Joey's wines always sell out.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/6/2019 | Send Email
The nose is subtle, it isn't a fruit bomb Syrah but a wine that shows more place than wine-making. On the palate the flavors are more savory, wild herbs, mesquite and a grilled meat character but with hints of a plumy character in the back. Hints of black pepper and the savory herbs and wild brush character highlight the finish. Compared to many California Syrah that are bursting out of your glass this wine shows more restraint and more breeding.

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/6/2019 | Send Email
There have been few domestic Syrah's I've tried lately that have impressed me as much as this one. The classic dark fruit character is present and shining, but I was struck by how vibrant the mouthfeel was and how lifted the palate. The oak is in perfect balance and aids in rounding out the structure. I love that Tensley does so many renditions of Syrah as each has their own unique style and traits. "Colson Canyon" is a particularly intriguing one.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/15/2019 | Send Email
Wow, this is a big, bold wine. A boisterous nose of smokey dark fruit, plum, black cherry, garrigue, sweet baking spice, embers and cracked peppercorn. Voluptuous, mouth-coating texture, big but ripe tannins with plenty of flesh and succulent fruit coating them. Quite a blockbuster style (at least in its youth) but executed perfectly with every element finding its place harmoniously. Powerful stuff from Tensley.

Additional Information:



- 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 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.