2010 Syrah, Estate Grown and Bottled, Santa Ynez Valley
Our wines are made from sustainably farmed grapes that are 100 percent estate grown, produced and bottled. With over 40 years of grape growing experience in the Santa Ynez Valley, our winemaking and vineyard teams meticulously farm our vineyard to focus on terroir-driven wines. We began growing Rhône varieties in 1978 when we were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Since then, we have determined that varietals planted in the Rhône Valley of France are best suited to our estate.
Our vineyard soils are Chamise Loam which are well-drained soils that developed over gravelly beds of silt and clay, and sandy water-deposited materials. These soils are on dissected high terraces (or mesas) with elevations of 1500 feet above sea level. This high elevation provides cooler nights, which translates into wines retaining their natural acidity. Since 1997, the winery has replanted more than half of its original vines with a high-density planting of new rootstock and clone combinations.
Growing Season and Harvest
2010 was an exceptionally cool and long growing season for the Santa Ynez Valley. Summer did not give us the usual heat we expect, leading to fruit that developed at a very slow and steady pace. Picking began in late-September, about a month behind normal, while finishing in mid-November. The mild year provided flavor development without excess sugar for wines of great quality and beautiful balance.
After hand harvesting, the Syrah and Viognier grapes were placed into small open-top bins to co-ferment. During fermentation, grape skins were punched down twice a day resulting in a wine of intense color, rich flavors and fine tannins. The wine was then placed into French oak barrels for 16 months to age.
Zaca Mesa Winery was the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County in 1978. Today we farm over 100 acres of Syrah on our estate comprising 9 different clones. The diversity of vine age and clones provides our Syrah’s 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.
Our 2010 Syrah displays bright blackberry, wild-berry, flowers, mocha, pepper and our signature sage spice. The silky finish lingers from the ripe tannins with a touch of smoky oak. A traditional pairing for this wine is a rack of lamb marinated in rosemary and garlic.
“The first winery to plant Syrah in the county continues to produce powerful but layered expressions. This delivers rich aromas of cherry, stewed plum and blackberry alongside sage and a wisp of vanilla. On the palate, it starts rich, until bright acidity and tannins bring balance amidst mocha and blackberry jam flavors and an oak-powered vanilla finish." —M.K. 92 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Feb. 2015.
"Appealing, with wild-berry and toasted herb aromas and zesty, well-layered flavors of plum, roasted anise and pepper. Drink now through 2021." - T.F. 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine, Web-Only 2015.
“6% Viognier. It may not be the deepest or most serious Syrah to be had, but this very accessible wine wins endorsement for its available fruit and overall affability. It is ripe and rounded and fairly supple in feel, and it keeps ripe berries in sight at all times. It makes a smooth passage over the palate, and even if finished with a slight tannic pucker, it is not a wine that demands a long stay in the cellar." —Olken. 87 Points, Connoisseurs' Guide, March 2014.
“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.
"Ripe and meaty red-fruited nose. Soft and rounded, juicy and forward, yet has some acidic bite and lift. Not much depth but fresh and long." - Stephen Brook, 90 Points (17), Decanter Magazine, February 2014.
"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 - Houston Wine Competition 2014
“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.