When Blair Fox graduated from UC-Davis' enology program and headed to Santa Barbara County, he realized that something was missing. Yes, he was working with Syrah and the other Rhone varietal wines that he loved. And he had a position as the winemaker for a small family-run winery in the Santa Ynez Valley. But he knew his Syrah education was incomplete.
So after three years he packed up and headed off to the Rhone. There, his love for the Syrah and Viognier of Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Condrieu deepened, became more complex. He then returned home. But Blair wasn't done exploring the world of Syrah. He landed in Australia, as the head winemaker for Haselgrove Wines in McLaren Vale, South Australia, where he produced serious terroir driven Syrah.
Now back in Santa Barbara and overseeing his own outfit, Bayards wines combine the best of the New and Old Worlds. This 2005 effort is made with fruit from the steep hillside blocks of the Purisima Mountain Vineyard farmed by WineAccess favorites Steve and Tom Beckmen. Of course the grapes are going to be solid. And Fox knew that all he had to do was vinify them carefully, with miminal intervention. The result is dynamic.
Deep purple in color, this wine shows vibrant, expressive notes of black fruits on the nose. On the palate, there's sweet, almost jammy notes of blackberry and boysenberry, followed by a finish accentuated by spice. Gentle tannins add structure and grip.
Purisima Mountain Vineyard
Try this full-bodied Syrah with an herb-crusted rack of lamb.