2006 Arcadian Winery Syrah Westerly Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
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RP 92 points
(Read the full review below)
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Winemaker Joe Davis and Westerly Vineyards Wine Advocate's 92pt "Impeccable" Collectible

If you're considering dropping a bundle on a winery focused on world-class Syrah, here's a cheap piece of advice. Before you pull the trigger, call Joe Davis at Arcadian. With any luck, he'll talk you out of it.

Groomed by Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac in the mid-1990s, Davis is the coast's most eloquent advocate of whole-cluster fermentation. But while the technique often provides for spectacular red fruit purity and silken texture years after bottling, Arcadian Syrahs -- like many of the top wines of Cote-Rotie -- are often restrained on release, making for unsettling economics.

"It's just the cost of playing," Joe told us last July, as we swirled this absolutely brilliant, deep ruby Westerly Vineyard Syrah in oversized Riedel. "The whole clusters, when properly handled, enhance texture and aromatic complexity. But, just as was the case chez Dujac, the cellar cuisine needs time."

Then Davis laughed. "In a perfect world, I wouldn't care. The wines always improve after five years in bottle. In theory, this should be like Cote-Rotie and Hermitage. I should be able to raise prices as the wines age. The problem is, the American Syrah market is anything but perfect!"

A month after we dropped in on Joe Davis -- just 5 months ago -- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate came calling. In the August issue, the world's most influential wine critic would mimic our tasting notes.

After 24 months in barrel, then nearly four more YEARS in bottle, the 2006 Arcadian "Westerly Vineyard" Syrah is just coming into its own. The color is brilliant purple, the nose still primary and youthful, infused with dark red fruit, spiked with sweet spices. The Advocate would call this luscious 6-year-old Syrah "impeccable," drawing attention to its marvelous fruit "purity … textural finesse and elegance" -- before lobbing on the 92-point score.

By all accounts, that should have been enough. Where can you find a stash of top-rated, perfectly-aged collectibles-- still offered at release price? Nowhere.

Tasting Notes

2006 Arcadian Winery Syrah Westerly Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
"Arcadian's 2006 Syrah Westerly is quite delicate in style. Freshly cut flowers, dark red berries, mint and spices come together nicely in this understated, impeccable wine. There is a purity and centeredness to the fruit that is striking. Varietal notes aren't terribly expressive, but the 2006 compensates for that with its textural finesse and elegance. Westerly is Joe Davis' warmest site. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021. "
92 points -- Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

"Bright ruby. Deeper and smokier than the straight Santa Ynez bottling, offering powerful cassis and cherry-cola scents and a note of cured meat. Weighty and chewy in texture, with gently sweet dark fruit flavors and a note of bitter chocolate. Becomes spicier with air and finishes with good thrust and clarity. Give this some decanter or cellar time."
91(+?) points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

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