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Wine Spectator Reviews 2012 Smoke and Mirrors
91 points from The Wine Spectator for our 2012 Smoke and Mirrors? Score: 91 Refreshingly quirky, this offers ripe cherry and spicy nut bread aromas, leading to zesty dried blackberry, cracked pepper and licorice flavors that linger toward ripe tannins. Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenach...

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Tasting Notes Archive

2002 Rockpile Vineyard Syrah Haley's Reserve

"Rockpile is a new AVA that you will hear more and more about in the future. This region produces outstanding wines and we believe the Rockpile Vineyard is one of the best examples of this appellation. With a strong coastal influence, temperatures are kept moderate during the day and cool at night. At 2000 feet, it has the highest elevation in the region. This puts it above the fog line giving the vines more sun exposure, thus better ripening."  -Jeff Cohn

Tasting Notes

A wine of dense purple color followed by aromatics of sweet, wild red and black berries intertwined with the intoxicating perfume of smoked game, vanilla, minerals and roasted herbs. Rich, lush, and concentrated, and compelling best describes the amazing texture profile of this full-bodied wine.

Varietals: 100% Syrah
Appellation: Rockpile
Alcohol: 15.9%
Production: 426 cases

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2007 Rockpile Vineyard Syrah Haley's Reserve

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 91 points

The 2007 Syrah Rockpile Vineyard (458 cases) needs some additional bottle time. Meaty, roasted herb, espresso, blackberry, and chocolate aromatics ooze from the glass of this black/purple-colored wine. Intense, full-bodied, and loaded with tannin and extract, it should drink well for a decade.

Intense and vibrant, with rich, full-bodied blackberry, wild berry and blueberry fruit that's deep and concentrated, focused and pure, ending with a long, persistent finish that gushes with fruit and is supported by ripe tannins. Drink now through 2015. --J.L.

From a 2,000 foot elevation vineyard in the Rockpile area (which is now entitled to its own appellation name), the sensational 2006 Syrah Rockpile Vineyard exhibits notes of camphor, acacia flowers, and blue as well as blackberries.  This full-bodied, multilayered, rich, super-concentrated Syrah ca be drunk now or over the next decade.This is a dazzling example of this new AVA.

2_puffs 91 points 2006 JC Cellars Rockpile Vineyard Syrah 

The Rockpile region is not likely to be the place where Syrah runs into limits and seeks polish, but this wine, admittedly both bold and very much on the rugged side, still possesses nicely formed blackberry fruit, complementary oak, and notes of dark soils, tar and dried spices.  It is about equal in weight to the wine above [2006 JC Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Syrah] but is noticeably fleshier and chewier in texture.  Withal, this one probably drinks younger than its mate simply because of its fruit is a trifle more open at its heart.

Leisure • Domestic Red Wine

Jeff Cohn, the former winemaker at Rosenblum Cellars—a producer of particularly fine vineyard-designate Zinfandels—stepped out on his own in 2006 to devote his full energies to JC Cellars.  His modus operandi resembles that of his former employer, Kent Rosenblum: Establish relationships with the finest growers across the state to produce modest quantities of immodestly great wine.  Although Cohn produces more than 20 different Rhône-style wines in his Oakland, Calif., warehouse-cum-winery, the Syrahs he has sourced from the Rockpile Vineyard—a rugged scrap of terrain situated on a peak above Lake Sonoma—are his masterpieces.  The JC Cellars 2006 Rockpile Vineyard Haley's Reserve Syrah is as intense and generous as the vineyard is spartan and bleak.  The scent of wildflowers greets the nose, while unctuous brambleberry juice and concentrated black-cherry liqueur wash over a deep core of ripe tannins. —B.A.

Floral, dried berry, soy and sage aromas are rich and intense, with spicy, cedary oak and loads of blackberry and currant fruit that’s pure, focused and firmly structured. Drink now through 2012. 259 cases made.
Consistently one of my favorites JC cellars wines is their Syrah Rockpile Vineyard. The 2004, 100% Syrah aged in French oak boasts an opaque black/purple color as well as a gorgeous nose of blackberry liqueur intermixed with melted licorice, smoked meats, acacia flowers and a talcum powder-like stony minerality. Powerful (16.3% alcohol) with superb underlying acidity and layers of richness, this is a blockbuster Syrah that should drink well for a decade.
This formidably-endowed Syrah, dense purple-colored offering boasting a sumptuous bouquet of vanilla, blackberry liqueur, cherries, licorice and peppery spice. Massive in the mouth, but well-balanced, with impressive purity, layers of fruit and glycerin, and a rich, long finish, this backward Syrah need 1-3 years of bottle age, and should keep for 12-15.
A delicious orchestration of ripe, rich fruit, built around a core of blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry fruit, which a dash of spice, cedar and kirsch, ending with firm but ripe and supple tannins, ending with a long, persistent finish. Drink now through 2010.
They don't get much bigger, richer, fuller, deeper or riper than this absolutely fully stuffed offering from Jeff Cohn. Never on to eschew the density and extract available in the big reds, Cohn has here delivered a blockbuster that will win friends among those who can accept the weight and complexity in this one without minding its substantial (15.9% alcohol). For, make no mistake about it, this wine trades its amazing intensity for its spiking heat in the finish. It will certainly age well, but it is likely to show best in its first decade.
This blockbuster (from a red soil vineyard planted at 2,000 feet) boasts a gorgeous perfume of boysenberries, blueberries, blackberries, lavender, toast and licorice. Full-bodied, with a voluptuous texture in addition to dry tannins lurking behind the extravagant fruit and concentration, this terrific Syrah should hit its prime in 1-2 years, and last for a decade.
High-toned, superrich and fleshy, with layers of plush blackberry, boysenberry, fresh earth, mineral, mocha and toasty oak delivered in a seamless package, finishing with an elegant burst of ripe fruit. Drink now through 2009.