Based on Cabernet Franc, with splashes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this complex wine is rich and softly tannic. It shows the fat, fleshy appeal of Cabernet Franc from the great 2007 vintage, and it has developed a mellowness from bottle age. It still offers oak-infused blackberry, cherry and dark chocolate flavors, plus emerging notes of herbs.
This is the costliest of Stolpman’s new reds and easily the best. It impresses for the depth of flavor and classic, dense structure. A co-fermented blend of Sangiovese and Syrah, it shows imposingly complex layers of dark stone fruits and berries, dark chocolate, bacon, dusty Indian spices and sweet, smoky sandalwood, wrapped into powerfully rich but gently ground…
If the first duty of a wine is to be delicious, this tiny production bottling succeeds beyond all measure. The Black Bear Block is almost always Zaca Mesa’s best Syrah among its many releases, and so it is again in 2009. Take one sip and you’re dazzled by the refined tannins, dryness and complexity of flavors: blackberry, cassis, plum sauce, mocha, bacon, smoky oak…
Here’s a stunning Merlot, not from the North Coast but a warmish region of Santa Barbara. Shows currant and dark-chocolate aromas with soy, anise and leather. Drinks soft and rich, really high quality, such depth and intensity. A great Merlot, but only 170 cases to go around.
The best Syrah of the vintage, a magnificent wine that blows you away through the force of its beauty and sheer voluptuousness. Pours dark and thick, and announces itself with muted but distinguished aromas of cassis, cherry pie, truffle, vanilla and smoke. Only in the mouth can you begin to appreciate the fantastic wealth of flavors. All this richness is reined in…
Picked at an unbelievable 38 degrees of brix, with residual sugar of 12.5%, this is a very, very sweet wine. It has an unctuous, honeyed texture, but super-high acidity breaks it up. Flavorwise, it’s botrytis-infected apricot-infused crème brûlée. Wow.
Extraordinarily rich, a tremendous Syrah from this unique vineyard in the heart of the valley. Black in color and bone dry, it explodes in concentrated blackberry, blueberry, cassis, mocha, pepper and sandalwood flavors, but even more impressive is the tannic structure: so soft, intricate and silky. Wonderful with spicy pork and beef dishes.
About as rich and flamboyant as California Chardonnay gets, a wine that blows you away with sheer pyrotechnic wizardry. Massive in grilled pineapples, mangoes, Key lime pie, vanilla honey, crème caramel and dusty spices, accented with perfect acidity.