Matt Kettmann

Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from California

Matt Kettmann reviews and reports on wines from the Central and South Coasts of California for the magazine. Santa-Barbara based Kettmann is senior editor for the weekly newspaper The Santa Barbara Independent, for which he has covered local news, lifestyle and beverage beats since 1999, and has reported on local and general wine topics for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Smithsonian, Sunset and Wine Spectator. In addition to organizing successful regional wine food and drink events in Santa Barbara and moderating at the annual Paso Robles CAB Collective seminar at the California Wine Festival last fall, in 2009, Kettmann cofounded New Noise Santa Barbara, an annual music conference and festival, and also serves on the board for Notes for Notes, a nonprofit providing free access to musical instruments and recording studios for music-interested youth.

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94
points

Stolpman 2012 Originals Syrah (Ballard Canyon)

  1. $42

Distinctive and unique aromas of blueberry, sawdust pencil shavings, freshly tanned leather and fennel seed swirl amidst a mysterious minty element. It’s silky and lush once sipped, with fine-grained tannins and all shades of purple fruit and flower flavors.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
94
points

Big Basin 2011 Old Corral Syrah (Santa Cruz Mountains)

  1. $55

Like smelling a pepper shaker with an underlying line of boysenberry fruit, this tremendously spicy, low-alcohol Syrah promises a bright future for the 1,400-foot-high vineyard. The pepper matches with purple fruits on the silky palate, altogether delivering a refreshing yet savory experience.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
94
points

Caliza 2011 Companion Red (Paso Robles)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $54

Thoroughly enjoyable and extremely delicious, this blend holds 52% Syrah, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Tempranillo and 3% Petite Sirah. The elegant nose integrates licorice, pepper and boysenberry pie, and the palate draws a brilliant line between tannins, ripe fruit and sweet pipe tobacco. Drink immediately.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

Epiphany 2011 Revelation Red (Santa Barbara County)

  1. $44

Fess Parker’s sister winery hits a savory home run with this blend of 62% Syrah and 38% Grenache, which presents game, leather, blackberry extract and sage on the nose. Purple fruit leads the palate, with dark chocolate on the midpalate and strong acidity and smooth tannins throughout.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

Mulvane Wine Co. 2011 White Hawk Vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County)

  1. $40

Addictive aromas of hot blackberry pie laced with cinnamon, allspice, cola nut and a stewed cherry sauce reveal the promise of this popular Los Alamos Valley vineyard. Dark plum fruit, but with the acidity of the plum skin, meets with candied flavors of blackberry syrup and the freshness of soda water. A hedonistic Syrah.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

San Simeon 2010 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $25

Elegant and attractive aromas of dark violet, red rose, cedar and a touch of vanilla serve as a promising entry point to this Cabernet. A bit of char kicks in on the palate alongside dark chocolate, espresso and ripe plum skin, with roasted beet in the background.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

Still Waters 2009 Reflections of Still Waters Estate Grown Red (Paso Robles)

  1. $38

The best Still Waters release right now, this presents a sophisticated nose of cherry chutney, black pepper, blueberry and burning sagebrush. On the palate, blueberry fruit gets dashed with more black sage and tobacco, and the acidity and tannins are just right.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
93
points

Foxen 2012 Tinaquaic Vineyard Syrah (Santa Maria Valley)

  1. $48

This dry-farmed vineyard reliably delivers memorable wines, including this Syrah, redolent with notes of oregano, thyme, charred beef and tar. The herbs, fruit and smoke integrate smoothly on the palate, with boysenberry fruit in the background and crushed bouquet garni on the front.

 — M.K.  (12/31/2014)
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