2009 Syrah, Estate Grown and Bottled Santa Ynez Valley
We hand craft our wines with integrity using traditional methods from grapes sustainably grown in our Santa Barbara County vineyard. Since 1973, we have farmed and nurtured our vineyard to produce wines that are true to the unique spirit of our land.
Zaca Mesa Winery was the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County in 1978. Today we farm 90 acres of Syrah on our estate comprising 9 different clones. The diversity of vine age and clones provides our wines with complexity and depth. Even with 30 years of experience with Syrah on our land, we continue to learn and improve our practices to make better wine.
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 cold-soak for several days and then to ferment, some with native yeast. During fermentation, the rising grape skins were punched down twice a day resulting in wine of intense color, rich flavors and fine tannins. This wine was aged for sixteen months in French oak barrels; 18% were new, 7% were 1-year old, 10% were 2-year old and the 65% were in 4+ year old.
Our Syrah displays rich blackberry, cassis, espresso, mocha and our signature sage spice aromas and flavors. The silky finish lingers from the ripe tannins and smoky oak. This full-bodied wine should be enjoyed over the next ten years. A traditional pairing for this wine is a rack of lamb with rosemary and garlic. Grilled meats and bold cheese will also pair well.
“This is soft, smooth and refined, with rich, complex blackberry, cassis, bacon, pepper and smoky cedar flavors. Good as it is, it will develop bottle complexities over the next eight years. Almost as good as Zaca Mesa's more expensive Syrahs." —S.H. 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast February 2013.
"Marked by complex, dense flavors of blackberry, wild berry, mineral, dried herb and sage. Full-bodied, with a dry, spicy, lingering finish. Drink now through 2017." - JL 88 points, Wine Spectator, March 31, 2012.
Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2012.
"Dark purple. Aromas and flavors of cassis, black olive and licorice. Fleshy, seamless and subtly sweet. Rich and broad but could a bit more shape and lift. Finishes smooth, with gentle tannins." 88 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, November/December 2011
"Rich and smoky, intense and vibrant, with complex roasted meat, spice and dried berry flavors, ending with firm, drying tannins. Best from 2012 through 2020. -- JL" Score 87, Wine Spectator, Web Only.
"A sweetly soft 100% Syrah, made for drinking now. It's jammy and forward in raspberries, cherries and mocha, with a dusting of pepper and cinnamon. Firm tannins provide a good grip in the mouth. SH." 87 points, Wine Enthusiast, November 2011.
"The 2008 Syrah emerges from the glass with blackberry jam, spices and chocolate. This is a fairly big, plump style of Syrah with limited finesse and complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014." 87 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, August 31, 2011.
“This is Zaca Mesa’s basic Syrah, and it’s quite a good wine. Dry and rich in tannins, it's showing complex flavors of black currants, black pepper, violets and cedar, with a meaty, leathery edge. Now through 2010.” 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast, May 2009
“Top Values” Wine Spectator, March 31, 2009
“Tight and beefy, with focused blueberry and wild berry flavors that are spicy and complex. Full-bodied, with a hint of stewed plum and wild berry peaking through on the finish. Drink now through 2015. —J.L.” 92 points, Smart Buy, Wine Spectator, Jan 31–Feb 28, 2009
#29 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines of 2010
"The first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County in 1978, Zaca Mesa was at the forefront of California Rhone wines in the early days and has regained its footing in recent vintages. Of the estate's 244 acres of vineyards, 90 are planted to nine different clones of Syrah. Aged for 16 months in French oaks barrels (30 percent new), this Santa Ynez Valley bottling is one of today's best values in California Syrah. Winemaker Clay Brock was replaced by Eric Mohseni in 2008. 12,325 cases made." Wine Spectator, December 31, 2010.
"Fans of expressively gamy Syrah should find a good deal to like here, but so too will those whoe like their Syrahs on the rich and well-ripened side. The wine is a big one, yet it is nicely balanced, and it does a fine job of hiding its heat. Neither its acidity nor its ample tannins are excessive, and the two are seamlessly fit. It is sufficiently fruity to enjoy early on but has the extract and depth to improve for a few years. Zaca Mesa seems to get it right with Syrah year in and year out. Well done." 91 points, 2-puffs, Good Value. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, November 2010.
“Offering wonderful floral, grapey plum and wild berry aromas, this is rich, smooth and supple on the palate, with tiers dark berry, mocha, mineral and spice flavors that glide along. Drink now through 2015.—J.L.” 93 Points, Smart Buy, Wine Spectator, Jan 31-Feb 28, 2010.
"A beautiful wine. If more Syrahs were like this, especially at this price, more people would buy them. It's dry and smoothly tannic, with rich flavors of blackberries, bacon, chocolate and peppery spices. Try as an alternative to Zaca Mesa's much more expensive single vineyard and reserve Syrahs. It's almost as good." 91 points, Editors' Choice, Wine Enthusiast, September 2010.