Mesa Reserve Syrah
2008 Mesa Reserve Syrah
Estate Grown and Bottled, Santa Ynez Valley
In 2004, we planted our “Mesa B” block totaling 26.5 acres with 5 syrah clones (174, 383, 470, 877 and Estrella) in ten different sub-blocks with high-density spacing (6 feet between rows and 4 feet between vines). Only a half mile away from our Black Bear Block the first Syrah planted in Santa Barbara County in 1978, this block offers a great contrast to it in vine age and clones.
Growing Season and Harvest
After a relatively uneventful winter, the vines came to life in early April only to be frost bit in late-April. Thankfully, only a small portion of our vineyard was damaged. May’s weather was not any better with sprinkles and wind during the critical bloom period. After a heat spike of +100º in mid-June, things settled down to our normal 55º in the morning and 85º in the afternoon. Harvest started as usual in early September and went quickly as there were few grapes to pick. Another cold snap hit in mid-October, but it did not hurt as most of our grapes had been picked. Yields were low due to the weird weather but the quality was encouraging.
After hand harvesting, the grapes were destemmed and placed into small open top bins to ferment. During the three week fermentation, the skins were punched-down by hand twice a day to develop rich color and fine tannins. Once dry, the wine was placed into new French oak barrels for 21 months to age. Individual barrels were selected to create this reserve.
This wine is deeply extracted and displays aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, robust coffee, cassis, mocha, and smoky oak as well as our signature sage spice. This wine is dense and bold with a commanding presence on the palate and a finish that lingers. A wine that will benefit with bottle age, this full-bodied wine should be enjoyed over the next ten to twelve years.
"This is consistently one of Zaca Mesa's best Syrahs of several bottlings they produce every vintage. The mildly cool year was kind to the fruit, giving controlled blackberry and black current flavors that are wrapped in refined tannins. The wine finishes with a swril of smoke and peppery spice, plus a touch of warmth from the alcohol. Drink now-2015." - S.H. 93 points, Wine Enthusiast, February 2013
"Fresh, Snappy and vivid, this zeros in on a tightly focused beam of wild berry and raspberry flavors ending with a mouthwatering aftertaste. Drink now through 2020." - JL 92 points, Wine Spectator Online Issue, December 2013.
"While a very rich and well-defined Syrah with a strong sense of peppery varietal spice and a distinct herbal bias to its constant, well-concentrated fruit, this wine moves up further in rank by dint of its refinement and its uncanny polish. It recalls Piont in its first tactile impressions of velvet but has the sturdier spine that Syrah should have, and its ample bones are clothed with plentiful flesh. It is properly tannic and nicely sustained at the finish, and it will grow for a half-decade or more by dint of its very fine balance." One-puff 90 points, Connoisseur's Guide to California Wine, July 2012.
"This bottling has been a real success for Zaca Mesa. It's a vibrantly fruity Syrah, packed with sweet cherries and blackberries, with a meaty, umami spiciness suggesting grilled bacon. Deliciously soft, it's best consumed over the next few years." - S.H. 92 points, Wine Enthusiast, April 2012
"Strikes a nice balance between intensity and finesse, with spicy, beefy, peppery berry flavors that show touches of cumin nad cedar, than fan out nicely on the finish. Drink now through 2018." - JL 89 points, Wine Spectator, March 31, 2012.
Gold Medal - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2012
"Young and vigorous now, marked by tannins and dryness that mask the fruit, making the wine somewhat aloof. However, the fruit is huge. It's ripe and succulent in blackberries and black cherries, and you'll find additional notes of smoked meat and black pepper for complexity. A wonderful Syrah that needs 3-5 years to blossom." 92 points, Cellar Selection, Wine Enthusiast, March 2011.
"Tightly wound, firm and concentrated, with trim yet concentrated dried berry, tobacco, mineral, cedar, beef carpaccio and roasted herb flavors that are very complex and focused, yet backward and in need of either a long decant or cellar time. Best from 2012 through 2022. -- J.L." 93 points, Wine Spectator Insider, December 22, 2010.
"With the most saturated ruby/purple color of all the Syrahs, the wine exhibits plenty of earth, blackberry, and cassis along with roasted herbs, pepper, and spice. It is the richest and deepest of the wines, and allso the most backward. Give it another year of bottle age and drink it over the next decade." 90 points. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, August 2010.
"Opaque ruby. Ripe blackberry and cassis on the nose, with complicating notes of mocha, violet and cracked pepper. An exotic floral quality comes up with air and carries onto the palate, which features lush dark fruit compote flavors and notes of oak spice and licorice. Tannins arrive late and add shipe and grip to a smoky, lingering finish." 90 points. Stephan Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. November/December 2010.
"Incredibly expressive, intense, spicy, blackberryish, slightly jammy and loaded with varietal nuances of pepper and game, this wine holds nothing back in its aromas, and if not as bold as its 15.0% alcohol might suggest, the wine is also not a shrinking violet and will be right at home with garlic-laden leg roasts of lamb. It has noticeable tannin that firms it up appropriately, and it surely will age well for several years." 2-stars, 91 points. Connoisseur's Guide to California Wine, March 2010.
"What a roll Zaca Mesa's been on with Syrah. Their '06 Reserve is dark, rich and impressive, with chocolaty flavors of ripe blackberries, mulberries, violets, teriaki-glazed beef, cedar and black pepper. Dry and tannic, but supple enough to drink now." 93 Points, Wine Enthusiast, November 2009.
Gold Medal, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, 2010.