2008 Z Three, Estate Grown and Bottled Santa Ynez Valley
We began growing Rhône varieties in 1978 when we were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Over the years, we have learned that the wines indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France are ideally suited to our estate. This reserve blend is inspired by the wines that the vintners of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of the Rhône Valley have been making for hundreds of years.
Growing Season and Harvest
The 2008 growing season started a month late after an unusually cold March. Spring and summer were relatively mild with our average highs in the upper 80’s. In early October, we had an afternoon down pour which increased our anxiety since the grapes were still hanging. Thankfully, it was quickly followed by warm, dry weather which allowed the grapes to ripen fully. Harvest came and went quickly, albeit a month late, yielding rich reds and bright whites.
This special blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache represents the best of our vineyards while capturing the individual characteristic of each grape variety. The grapes were hand harvested, fermented and barrel aged separately for 7 months, then combined and aged for an additional 14 months in French oak barrels.
Each grape variety adds its own personality: Syrah adds flavors of blackberry and ripe tannins; Mourvèdre brings notes of blueberry and full mouth-feel; and Grenache adds lush raspberry liqueur flavors. These rich layers of flavor create a wine greater than the sum of its parts and enable it to be enjoyed now or cellar for five to seven years.
"This is a classic California interpretation of a southern Rhone-style blend. It's a good wine, smooth and pleasant if not particularly complex, offering rich flavors of cherry, cherry liqueur, cola, mocha, bacon and white pepper. Drink now." - S.H. 89 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, February 2013
"Combines ripe, plump, spicy blueberry, mineral, graphite, pepper and savory roasted herb flavors. Full-bodied, ending with pebble and spice notes. Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. Drink now through 2017." - J.L. 89 Points, Wine Spectator, March 31, 2012
"Deep ruby. Smoky, expansive aromas of blackberry, cassis and violet, with a hint of vanilla and a spicy topnote. Ripe and fleshy, with very good depth and energy to its dark fruit and licorice flavors. Lingers nicely on the finish, which echoes the licorice and vanilla notes." 90 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, November/December 2011.
"A very good wine, delicious and soft, although it shows a certain one-dimensionality. But what a delicious dimension that is. Floods the mouth with blackberry, cherry and raspberry tart, milk chocolate, red licorice, spicy bacon and smoky sandalwood flavors. Easy to like, a lot, although it shows some heat toward the finish." 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast, November 2010.
"A racy style, intense and marked by peppery wild berry, mineral, sage and cedar notes that gain depth and velocity, while retaining a firm structure. Syrah, Mourvédre, and Grenache. Drink now through 2016." 89 Points, Wine Spectator, March 31, 2010.
"The 2006 Z Three is a Syrah/Mourvédre/Grenache blend, with the Syrah dominating and the Grenache only representing 14%. Dense black currant and blackberry notes with some sweet cherry, spice, pepper, and herbs are all present in this full-bodied, fleshy wine, meant to be drunk over the next 4-5 years. It is a beauty and very appealing." 90 Points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, August 31, 2009.
"Very intense and richly flavored, with vibrant, spicy wild berry, beef carpaccio, melted chocolate, black licorice and savory notes. Full-bodied, very young and concentrated. Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. Drink now through 2020. -- JL" Score 92, Wine Spectator, December 31, 2011
"A blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache, and a fancy wine to drink now for its wealth of flavor. Dry, soft and velvety, it shows ripe berry and currant fruit, with earthy, meaty notes and loads of crushed black pepper. SH" 90 points, Wine Enthusiast, November 2011.