Wine & Spirits Magazine
The Isabel Dusi Vineyard sits along Highway 101 in Paso's Templeton Gap - which means that is gets some cooling influence from the Pacific. The vines here are 60 to 80 years old, dry farmed, the zin interrupted by an occasional vine of...
"Ventana Vineyards is one of the very few locations where the old-world pre-phylloxera vinifera grapevine thrives. They have learned over a number of years that they must match certain varieties to certain soil characteristics. The Syrah clone known as Chapoutier or Estrella (depending on the grower and which nursery they obtained it from) produces a very small berry in the Ventana terroir, and therefore the skin-to-juice ratio is higher resulting in wines that have more depth and saturated color. We used eight different French oak Burgundy style barrels (70% new) with medium plus to heavy toast during the aging process to complement one of the most seductive wines we produce." -Jeff Cohn
Opaque purple in color with aromas of roasted herbs, smoked game, blackberries, cassis, black pepper, lavender and violets. A bit of the Northern Rhône with a twist of California and a little touch of JC Cellars, this elegant wine is perfect with braised meats, smoked game and triple cream cheeses.
Very much in the JC Cellars fold insofar as ripeness and richness are concerned, the Ventana bottling is a powerful, full-bodied Syrah whose generous blackberry fruit is infused with plenty of pepper and briary spice. It sports sufficient substance to buffer its noticeable heat, and, while it is fairly tough and a long way from beingrefined, it has all of the pieces to grow for five to ten years.
Firm, grapey wild berry and raspberry join pepper, spice, mineral and cedar in a full-bodied expression of Syrah, with hints of pepper, bay leaf, black licorice and mineral. Firms up nicely on the finish. Drink now through 2014. 321 cases made. –JL
Winemaker Jeff Cohn's various red wines are always appointed with
extra measures of ripeness, fruity extract and rich oak, and, while
this substantial Syrah bottling is very much a case in point, it
exhibits exemplary balance and is never less than keenly varietal in
scent and taste. Its temperate tannins lend structural spine without
fighting against fruit, and its lengthy finish holds on to the very
deep mix of ripe berries and peppery spice that marks this one a solid
This wine breaks away from the overripe/oaky model and finds greater
amounts of spice, herbs, and smoke in its mix while also delivering an
insistent line of fruit that never quits from front to back. Its slight
turn to herbs in the nose is echoed in its finishing narrowness and in
touches of dried bark and leaves. Far less of a bruiser, this one has
interest aplenty on its side and, while some will find quibbles in its
"green" notes, others will find refreshing complexity and a lighter
From a more northern, cool climate site, this dense
ruby/purple-colored wine, harvested on November 1st, emerges from
sandy/loamy soils. Floral scents intermixed with aromas of black
fruits, pepper, earth, and underbrush are followed by a sleek,
medium-bodied, nicely concentrated mouthfeel, sweet tannin, and an
attractive, long finish. Enjoy it over the next 5-6 years.
Sweet oak perfumes overlie a wealth of juicy blackberry fruit in the
ripe and lightly peppery nose of this full-scaled young Syrah, and that
same fruit is the confident centerpiece of the wine's broad and very well
filled flavors. Fairly fat and fleshy with certain palatal plumpness,
it is relatively tame in tannins and finishes with a lengthy aftertaste
of berries and very sweet oak. So rich as to tempt near term drinking,
it will age by dint of balance rather than brawn and should only get
better for a half dozen years.