We've long been aware of Santa Barbara county's potential for Syrah. Sure, the region along California's Central Coast first shot to prominence for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but within the last two decades, astute winemakers discovered that certain growing sites, featuring warm microclimates combined with perfect soil, were ideal for growing the varietal. But even in the right spot, the winemaker must often remain patient. This is the case with Rick Longoria's Syrahs from the Alisos Vineyard. Located 500 feet above sea level in the Los Alamos Valley, the shallow marginal soils help produce concentrated, intense fruit.
By 2005, Longoria and other winemakers who drew fruit from Alisos had come to a shared conclusion: Alisos is one of the slowest Syrah vineyards in Santa Barbara to come around. Rush to pick and the results can be disappointing. But given the proper time to ripen, the fruit will be outstanding. In 2005, the harvest occured on October 14th, late enough to ensure an intense, powerful wine.
James and Rick Longoria
The wine exhibits the typical dark color of Alisos Syrah. It has beautiful forward aromas of black cherries with a hint of molasses in the background. On the palate the wine is medium to full bodied with round flavors of berries and spices. There is a hint of black pepper in the finish. The wine is certainly approachable now, but can also be cellared for five to seven years to let the tannins soften even further.
Pair this powerful wine with lamb or flavorful beef dishes; it would make the perfect partner for a hearty winter stew.