Home | Recent Tastings | Wine Touring | Cellars | What's New

by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Not the Usual Suspects Santa Barbara Syrahs - June 17, 2009


We tried last night (6/17/09) Not The Usual Suspects SantaBarbara Syrahs:

  1. Consilience StarLaneVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty Syrah (15.6%; 231 cs) 2003: Dark color; rather ozone/gunflint/WWII beacon/licorice/pungent some fumey/alcoholic ripe/jammy/boysenberry/Syrah nose; soft/fat rather burnt/charred/oak bit hot/alcoholic very ripe/boysenberry/Syrah/licorice/jammy some burnt/charred/oak flavor; med.long very ripe/fumey/alcoholic boysenberry/jammy finish w/ slight tannins; big/ripe fruit but pretty over-the-top for me. $34.00
  2. Consilience Syrah GreatOaksVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty (15.8%) 2005: Dark color; bit volatile/fumey/ alcoholic very ripe/jammy/boysenberry/blackberry/Syrah/framboise some toasty/oak nose; soft/fat/porky huge/ripe/boysenberry/Syrah/jammy/black cherry bit toasty/oak flavor; soft light tannic black cherry/ framboise/black cherry liquer volatile/fumey light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; loads of interesting ripe fruit but a bit too alcoholic/fumey in character. $34.00
  3. Consilience Syrah TierraAlteVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty (16.8%) 2005: Very dark/black color; bit aged very ripe/boysenberry/jammy/Syrah slightly hot/fumey/alcoholic overripe/porty nose; soft/fat bit tannic/bitter very ripe/Smuckers black cherry jam/boysenberry/Syrah slight alcoholic/hot perty light toasty/oak flavor; med. long Smuckers black cherry jam/boysenberry pretty hot/alcoholic finish w/ light tannins; seems a bit old/tired for an '05; pretty ripe/alcoholic Syrah; my favorite of these because it seemed to carry the alcohol somewhat better. $30.00
  4. Consilience HamptonFamilyVnyd/SBCnty Syrah (16.0%) 2004: Very dark color; some hot/volatile some very ripe/boysenberrySyrah low-key light toasty/oak nose; soft/fat/porky pretty hot/alcoholic/fumey light boysenberry/Syrah slight astringent/bitter flavor; med.short soft/fat pretty hot/alcoholic bitter slight
    jammy/boysenberry/Syrah finish w/ light tannins; seems most hot/overripe/alcoholic of these. $36.00
  5. JellyRoll Syrah SantaYnezVlly (15.1%) 2003: Dark color; attractive blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light toasty/oak slight roasted/smokey/menthol very attractive nose; tart slight funky/toasty/roasted/oak/ pungent bit menthol/cedary/old wine slight blackberry/Syrah flavor; long bit funky/aged/cedary spicy/blackberry/Syrah slight spicy/roasted finish w/ light tannins; quite attractive but starting to show some aged/cedary character; probably near its peak or beyond. $28.00
  6. JellyRoll Syrah SantaYnezVlly (15.3%) 2004: Very dark color; attractive black cherry/blackberry/Syrah/
    spicy light oak/smokey nose; tart bigger black cherry/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak slight spicy/
    peppery bit hard/tannic flavor; med.long rather tannic/hard strong black cherry/blackberry/Syrah light
    toasty/oak slightly bitter finish; needs another yr or two; very good fruit but a bit hard on the palate.
  7. JellyRoll Syrah SantaYnezVlly (15.3%) Lompoc 2005: Very dark color; very strong blackberry/Syrah/ spicy light toasty/smokey/oak slight roasted/earthy attractive nose; tart strong blackberry/Syrah/ spicy bit minerally/peppery light toasty/oak very attractive/interesting flavor; very long bit tannic strong black cherry/blackberry/Syrah light spicy/peppery/minerally finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; the most interesting of the JellyRolls and my favorite; quite a lovely Syrah. $38.00
  8. HermanStoryWines Syrah LarnerVnyd/SantaYnezVlly (15.2%; www.HermanStoryWines.com)2004: Very dark color; strong toasty/charred/burnt/oak bit earthy/blackberry/Syrah subdued nose; tart rather hard/tanic/bitter light blackberry/Syrah light charred/oak flavor; med.short hard/tannic/bitter slight blackberry/Syrah finish; hard/tannic/bitter and lacks fruit; seems over-extracted. $31.00
  9. Summerland Syrah BienNacidoVnyd/Block X/SantaMariaVlly (14.1%; #1261 of 215 cs;
    www.SummerlandWine.com) 2004
    : Dark color; rather smokey/pungent/charred/oak bit dusty/earthy light licorice/Syrah slight volatile/fumey low fruit nose; tart lean/hard/tannic low fruit rather charred/ toasty/flavor; med.short hard/tannic/some bitter low fruit/licorice/Syrah slight bretty finish; needs age but ??; lacks fruit & pretty hard/tannic; way overpriced at $54.00
  10. FessParker Syrah Rodney'sVnyd/SBC (15.6%; Planted: 1989) 2005: Black color; huge musty/ unreedemingly corked/TCA nose; horribly corked; will retry w/ replacement btl soon. $38.00
  11. RedCar AllNightRadio Calif Syrah (15%) 2003: Dark/black color; strong licorice/boysenberry/Syrah rather toasty/charred/oak/smokey pretty intense/extracted nose; big/tannic/hard licorice/boysenberry/ Syrah some charred/toasty/burnt/oak/pungent extracted flavor; long pretty hard/tannic some very ripe/boysenberry/Syrah charred/toasty/oak finish; a pretty big/extracted Syrah that needs age but may never come into balance; a bit of a gamble. $42.00
  12. RedCarWineCo TheTable Syrah ThompsonVnyd/SantaBarbaraCnty (15.1%; www.RedCarWine.com) 2002: Very dark/black color; intense blackberry/blueberry/Syrah bit peppery/spicy/floral very attractive nose; very hard/tannic/extracted strong spicy/peppery/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak flavor; long hard/tannic/veryextracted some peppery/floral/blackberry/Syrah finish; very attractive nose but seems a bit on the overextracted side and may never come around. $60.00
  13. Margerum Syrah Alondre DeLosPrados Vnyd/SantaYnezVlly (14.5%) 2003: Dark color; light toasty/oak spicy/blueberry/blackberry/Syrah bit licorice/violets/floral perfumed/interesting nose; tart rather floral/violets blackberry/licorice/pungent/Syrah bit hard/tannic very light oak/toasty flavor; med.long rather floral/violets some blackberry/spicy/Syrah bit tannic finish; probably near its peak; a very attractive
    Syrah w/ lovely perfumed/floral component. Larry's mystery. $30.00

And the usual pandering comments from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Consilience: I've followed these wines from the very start, but have decided to give up on them. They tend to be very ripe/overripe and hot/alcoholic/fumey, but w/ loads of fruit. It's just a style that no longer appeals to me much.
2. JellyRoll: This is a wine made by JimKnight, wine buyer at his family's Wine Warehouse in SoCal. After a stint at LafondWnry, he made his first wine in 2001 at JoeyTensley's wnry. Named after the jazz guy JellyRollMorton.
3. RedCar: Wnry started in the LA area by CaroleKemp and (late) MarkEstrin. I had some of the early RedCar releases and liked them quite a lot. With a bit of age on these wines, I was expecting quite a lot from them. They didn't seem to be evolving particularly well. They both had a pretty hard/tannnic over-extracted edge on the palate that makes me question if they'll ever come into balance. Time will tell I suppose. But for the $$'s, I would expect more from these wines.


<< back to TomHill archive

Home | Top of page | Recent Tastings

Copyright © 1996 - 2009, Tom Hill - All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz