Larner Vineyard, Syrah, 2013 ($80)
An explosive yet nuanced nose of anise, toasted black peppercorn, saline, and violet aromatics is stunning even before the first sip. Delivering on the promise of the nose, the texture is voluptuous as French oak nuances weave amongst a bevy of concentrated red and black fruit tones. Fleshy and decadent, yet grounded by satisfying fruit tannin, this wine speaks to the quality and focus of Larner Vineyard. It reminds me of a classic CĂ´te-RĂ´tie with sun-touched California grandeur.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “The 2013 Syrah Cinematique Larner Vineyard exudes class and elegance on both the nose and palate.” 95 points
Larner Syrah, 2012
The power and focus of Larner Vineyard fruit is continually rewarding, and I believe that this is the best vintage of Syrah I’ve procured from this source to date. The nose is bountifully complex, with hints of rosewater, drying jerky, and black currant. It is tempting to simply smell this wine, but the palate delivers on the promise of the nose with equal complexity. The well-integrated French oak finds great alignment with textural notes of ground coffee and fleshy black fruit. A wine like those rare films of such conviction you only need to see once to know they’re great, but will always want to revisit.
Larner Syrah, 2011
Deep and dark in color, the surface shimmers with an inky shine, like oil on asphalt. Classic Cote-Rotie in style, the nose is possessed of nuanced fragrances of violets and chocolate, with some smokiness and garrigue. Voluptuous on the palate, this luscious, velvety, and concentrated wine is beautifully balanced and long on the finish.
Larner Syrah, 2010
Larner Vineyard is a magic terroir established by ex-Hollywood cinematographer, the late Stevan Larner, tucked in the picturesque hills of Santa Rita Valley. Cinematique is created with two different clones of Syrah: Estrella and 877, co-fermented with 5% of Viognier. The grapes are fully-destemmed. During the growing season, we work diligently at the vineyard to ensure yields are as low as possible in order to achieve the perfect ripeness and balance at harvest. The grapes are sorted both in the vineyard and again at the winery.
Dark and highly extracted in color. Very fragrant nose. Rich in black fruits, minerals, spicy vanilla, and violets. Full-bodied yet finely textured and pleasing, suggesting a great CĂ´te-RĂ´tie with an extra dimension of California sun. Long and well balanced. Very fine.
Clones: Estrella, 877, Viognier
Barrels: 35-50% new French oak
Fix barrels made, unfiltered.
Larner Syrah, 2009
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …a big, powerful Syrah loaded with dark fruit and plenty of concentration 90 points
Larner Syrah, 2009
James Suckling: Spicy, with black pepper and minerals. Licorice and hints of sandalwood. Full-bodied, with an amazing finish. Superb finish. Fabulous. What a finish! About 5% Viognier in the blend. Better in 2014. 75 cases. 97 points.
Larner Syrah, 2008
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: Gorgeous aromas of spring flowers, black olives, blackberries, black currants, and raspberries jump from the glass of this full-bodied, intense, complex, elegant Syrah. Superb purity, a seamless mouthfeel, and a tremendously long finish with no hard edges suggest it can be enjoyed now and over the next decade. 97 points
Larner Vineyard Syrah, 2007
Deep purple, almost black in color, with a full gamut of fragrances and nuances on the nose: dark cherry, Kirsch liqueur, violets, coffee, and a hint of mint. Broad on the palate with velvety texture, quite voluptuous and intense, yet well balanced. Long, smooth finish. 60 cases made. 33% new French oak.
Larner Vineyard Syrah, 2006
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …sensational aromatics, extraordinary, meaty, voluptuous, blackberry fruit, a fleshy texture, and a finish that lasts for 40+ seconds. It is slightly more exotic, nuanced, complex, and flamboyant than the Bien Nacido Syrahs. This cuvee was also co-fermented with 5-7% Viognier, which provides uplift to the aromatics as well as an extra degree of complexity to the bouquet and flavors. 96 points
Larner Vineyard Syrah, 2005
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: The spectacular 2005 Syrah Larner Vineyard Cinematique is cropped at two tons of fruit per acre, and co-fermented with a tiny amount of Viognier (7%), this 100% destemmed wine exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as stunning aromatics of acacia flowers, creme de cassis, blueberries, graphite, and spice. With fabulous texture, a seamless integration of acidity, tannin, alcohol, and wood, beautiful opulence, and a long, 40 second finish, this stunning Syrah evidences the brilliance of this young cellar rat, an up-and-coming star in Californiaâ€™s Central Coast. 95 points
Bien Nacido Vineyard, Syrah, 2013 ($90)
Alluring aromas of smoked sweet jerky, coffee bean, graphite, and dark chocolate emerge from this nearly opaque wine. The new French oak is stunningly integrated, threading sinuously through deep bramble fruit and cassis tones. The silky palate is strengthened by luscious tannins that nearly overwhelm the senses by the finish. Massive, extracted, but finely-tuned through-and-through, this supremely age-worthy Syrah has many mysteries to reveal through the years.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “Beautifully concentrated, multi-dimensional, layered, elegant and with blockbuster length, it’s another wine from Paul that has the pedigree to drink splendidly in its youth, yet age gracefully.” 96 points
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2012
Opaquely purple and richly viscous in the glass, it is readily apparent that this is a voluptuous wine. The highly fragrant nose explodes with notes of coffee bean and dark chocolate wrapped in an alluring smokiness. The palate is massive and extracted but still expresses a gentle silkiness through the fat. Notes of smoked jerky, ripe raspberry, and white pepper continue for minutes. Drinking beautifully at bottling, but this structured, cool-climate Syrah harbors mysteries that will only be revealed with age. Absolutely gorgeous in all facets, from first appearance through the last, lingering notes.
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2011
The deep violet hue reveals a dark and extracted classic cool-climate Syrah. The nose displays layers of vanilla, dark cherry, church incense, and white pepper. The mouthfeel retains elegance through its focus while exhibiting powerful tannins that linger with great intensity.
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2010
This cool climate Syrah has all the elements of a great wine, which ultimately are attributed to the extraordinary talent of vineyard manager Chris Hammell and his dedicated crew. The grapes were harvested in late October and early November ten days apart based on their ripeness. We harvested the sunny south side first before the rain came and ten days later the north side. The grapes were meticulously sorted in the vineyard and again on the sorting table at the winery. Dark violet color with shiny hue. Complex nose of dark fruits, rose, black olive tapenade with a subtle hint of tar. Complex and long on the palate. Silky and pleasing from the first sip, yet finely-structured, elegant and powerful throughout. Hermitage-like and exceptionally fine.
19 years old 1.3 tons per acre Estrella – 3% Viognier and 20% whole cluster co-fermented
100% new French oak, FranĂ§ois Freres and Ermitage cooperage from TronĂ§ais and Bertrange forrests. The wine was racked of the lees once in August 2011 and returned into the same barrels. Unfiltered.
May 2012 Five $85
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2009
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: The wine bursts onto the palate with layers of black pepper, cassis, sweet herbs, plums and black cherries. This shows marvelous cool weather firmness and minerality along with a clean, bracing finish. A blast of dark blue and black informs the awesome, explosive finish. The 100% new oak barrels are integrated beautifully. This is a fabulous wine from Paul Lato. 94 points
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2008
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …a beautifully made, full-bodied, inky/purple-colored wine exhibiting notes of graphite, creme de cassis, blackberries, minerals, and spice box with just a hint of oak in the background. It offers layer upon layer of fruit as well as a powerful, rich, yet elegant style. Drink this beauty over the next decade or more. 95 points
Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah, 2007
Almost black in color, very intense, very fragrant on the nose, with nuances of lavender, orange peel, chocolate, dark espresso coffee, and hints of fennel, fire and smoke. Big, yet elegant and gentle. On the palate it is silky and well-structured, with smoke and classic bacon fat. It is vibrant and youthful and very well integrated already. Long, smooth finish with a refreshing acidity. 20 cases made. 100% new French oak.
Santa Barbara County Syrah, 2012
A wine of extreme balance that has a true ChĂ˘teauneuf-du-Pape touch. In the glass, it is a deep ruby red, with aromas of blackberry pie, graphite, licorice, and red flower. Like velvet on the palate, with sturdy tannins adding strength and complexity to an array of fruit and spice notes. Both muscular and lithe, I am incredibly pleased with this wine, which uses one barrel of very fine Grenache.
Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah, 2006
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2006 Syrah Bona Fide Bien Nacido Vineyard also includes 5% Viognier co-fermented in the blend. Another seamless, exceptionally aromatic effort, it reveals superb stuffing and purity. As Lato will tell you, most of the work is done in the vineyard. This cuvee walks a tightrope between power and finesse, never erring in either direction. Complex notes of black olives, blackberries, cassis, graphite, and spring flowers emerge from this full-bodied, pure, deep, seamless, prodigious 2006 Syrah. It should drink beautifully for 7-8 years. 95 points
Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah, 2005
â€śFor those who gaze.â€ť When properly grown Syrah expresses a great terroir and transcends varietal typicity elevating it to the level of simply great wine. This tightly woven, exceptionally silky Syrah is bursting with the bright acidity of fresh boysenberry and blueberry highlighted with ripe black cherry and nuances of white pepper. Itâ€™s overall harmony and balanced acidity makes it a great food wine. Enjoy it over the next ten years with your favorite haute cuisine and the company of special friends.
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2003
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: The 2003 from Bien Nacido exhibits a deeper ruby/purple color along with abundant aromas of incense laden crĂ¨me de cassis interwoven with licorice, spice box and cherries. Dense, medium to full bodied as well as strikingly elegant and well delineated, it should drink well for 6 – 8 years. 91 points
Bien Nacido Syrah, 2002
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: Paul Lato has been producing small lots of elegant reds that combine the grace and subtlety of European wines with the exuberance and richness of California. Seventy-five cases produced from a hillside block of Bien Nacido Vineyard, exhibits elegant sweet aromas of licorice, diced herbs, blackcurrants, incense and spice box. Medium-bodied, stylish and authoritatively flavored, with a long harmonious finish, it should drink well for 7 – 8 years. 90 points
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: Paul Latoâ€™s 2002 Syrah Long Shot from the Bien Nacido Vineyard â€¦Medium to full-bodied, with a beautiful texture, elegance allied with sweet fruit and a textured, nuanced style, it offers the ripeness of California along with the elegance and delicacy of a northern Rhone Valley wine. (90+ points).