What can I say? One of the new stars of the Santa Cruz Mountains. These wines aren't like anyone else's. Note that many of these wines were run through a Venturi, so are showing a bit more than they would otherwise at this point.
'08 "Aura" Rose of Syrah (CA) Syarh and a bit of Grenache barrel fermented in French Oak. Nose - rich, raspberry and strawberry, smoky and toasty. Toasty rich strawberry, lemon zest and truffle. Very nice. 91 pts.
'07 Pinot Noir Branciforte Ridge (SCM) Nose - tight, smooth, strawberry/rhubarb. Minerally rhubarb and strawberry, smoky, earthy. 93 pts Because this was Venturi'd, it was showing more on the palate than what I had last week. Excellent. Vigorous decant or wait a couple years.
'07 Pinot Noir Bald Mountain (SCM) (This will be a September release.) Nose - Stony, rustic, tight, cranberry and rhubarb, nutmeg, savory/meaty. Dark, dense, blackberry, truffle, graphite, smoke and zest, with a touch of rhubarb and cranberry. Wait til 2011. 92 pts
'08 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vyd. (SCM) barrel sample Nose - heavy, persimmon, cassis, tangello, smoke and black cherry. Lighter than expected from the nose. Rich, raspberry, graphite, red plum and smoke. Wait til late 1010. 91+
'06 Syrah "Sri" (SCM) Nose - intense, driving blackberry and truffle, graphite, smoke, hint of cranberry. Cranberry, red plum, truffles and blackberry. Round, earthy, with orange zest on the finish. Needs a year. 90+ pts
'06 Syrah "Mandala" (65% Estate, 35% Fairview Ranch) Nose - stony dark zesty fruit -> black cherry, blackberry, earthy, pithy, graphite, red currant. Earthy and bright, blackberry, truffle, pith, mandarin zest. Needs at least a year. 89+ pts (A matter of preference of expression, as most others like the Mandalas better than me. Just less than the sum of its parts? Or are the presumably younger vines/lesser lots a significant factor?)
'06 Syrah Fairview Ranch (Santa Lucia Highlands) Nose - full, black fruit and red cherry, black cherry, orange. Rich, round, earthy, zesty, pure blackberry, truffle, graphite, orange zest, smoky. Drink now to 2014. 93+ pts
'06 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock (SCM) Nose - dense, dark minerality, but also bright. With mandarin, blackberry and black cherry, sandalwood, nutmeg and a hint of clove. Firm tannin, smooth blackberry, very integrated - mushrrom, mandarin, hints of rhubarb, graphite, smoke, tobacco, cedar. Long and easy. Touches of resin and lavender on the finish. Gorgeous! Now to 2024. 95 pts If you've got to drink a Rattlesnake Rock in the near term, this is the one. Let the other sleep.
'07 Syrah Coastview (Gavilan Mountains) barrel sample Spring 2010 release Nose - intense jammy blackberry and blueberry, Nilla Wafers, sandalwood, nutmeg, red clay, and a hidden underlying minerality. Rich full blueberry jam, orange and orange zest, mushroom, boysenberry, a bit grippy. 93 pts
'07 "Odeon" Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah Black Ridge Vineyard (SCM) barrel sample Nose - tight, heavy, dark, blackberry, black currant, hints of creme de menthe. Bright fresh Cab fruit without obvious oak, touch of cedar, boysenberry, some earth, mushrron, zest, smoke. 91 pts
'08 Grenache/Syrah (65%/35%) Estate (SCM) barrel sample Nose - heady medley of raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry. red currant and red plum, with subtle French oak spice. Earthy, toasty, red fruit medley, cinnamon, sandalwood, mushroom, touch of orange and a hint of nasturtium. Needs 2 years. 93 pts
'04 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock (SCM) Nose - Dense black fruit, with heady spice box aromas, cedar, touch of resin. Just plain WOW! Sultry foresty blackberry - just so complex and gorgeous - structured and packed! At a loss for words. Peppery mouthfeel. Should improve for 15 years. 96+ pts