2006 Arcadian Winery Syrah Westerly Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
Expert Rating
RP 92 points
(Read the full review below)
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Westerly Vineyards Why We Took This Job

When we began this little adventure in late 2006, we were determined to do what traditional retailers and distributors seemed to have forgotten how to do. Most of the truly inspired bottles, we reasoned, are made in small quantities. As billion-dollar spirits-based wholesalers gobbled up boutique fine wine distributors, many of the most inventive and passionate winemakers were being left out in the cold. We invented WineAccess to help warm those guys up.

But, as WineAccess doubled in size year after year — no longer selling tens of thousands of bottles per year, but millions — we feared the company would fall victim to the same, cynical mindset that had opened the door to our opportunity. As WineAccess became a "professional" organization, some began measuring our "success" in terms of the input instead of the output. As they spoke of "hockey stick" growth (whatever that means), we spoke only of the buyer ratings posted by the WineAccess membership. Early this year, though we never mentioned this before, our disconnect with management came to a head.

Don't take this the wrong way. We love our jobs. After 30 years in the wine business, we've NEVER been more fascinated by the stories of the wine trail, or the perseverance, resolve and passion of artisanal winegrowers. We never liked flying, but now we delight in our 200,000 miles of annual air travel — particularly when our destinations are places like Montalcino, St. Helena, Los Olivos, Mendoza and Gevrey-Chambertin. We never flew first-class before we signed on with WineAccess. Now, we love the upgrades — the free drinks, the always-smiling stewardesses, the movies. Still, we told some of the Powers That Be, if all this "success" means abandoning the very people we swore to promote, we'd rather fly coach.

In retrospect, we were probably too brash. Maybe even abrasive. But, as you've read over the years, tact has never been our strong suit. We stood our ground, and after two sleepless weeks, to their credit, the new management saw the light. Yes, sales matter (someone has to be pay our expenses!). But NOT at the expense of the guys who made WineAccess what it is. Guys like Joe Davis.

If you were asked to write a winery business plan focused on optimizing cash flow, Joe Davis is probably not the guy you'd seek out for advice. Since the late 1990s, Davis has been crafting some of the most complex reds and whites on the coast, each drawn from prized vineyards like Sleepy Hollow, Pisoni, Stolpman, Purisima Mountain and Westerly. But, as others prepare to release their 2012 Syrahs and Pinot Noirs — hoping to quickly fund their 2013 grape purchases — Davis, true to his Burgundian inspiration, has yet to release most of his 2008s and 2009s.

In the cool summer of 2006, Davis contracted for 2 acres of Syrah from Westerly Vineyard in Happy Canyon, off of which he would craft just eight barrels of one of the most brilliant wild-berry Syrahs of the year. For those who doubt the age worthiness of superb coastal Syrah, the 2006 Arcadian from Westerly Vineyard should erase all skepticism.

Parker's Wine Advocate tasted this brilliant Syrah for the first time six years (!!!) after it was harvested, calling the wine "impeccable." A year later, the Advocate returned, this time publishing a SECOND 92-point review, describing Davis's signature Syrah as "Concentrated and ripe, it stays fresh and lively, with a weightless, elegant feel. It, too, will benefit from another year or two and drink well through 2021. Drink now-2021."

Tasting Notes

2006 Arcadian Winery Syrah Westerly Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
"From a warmer terroir on the eastern side of the Santa Ynez Valley, the 2006 Syrah Westerly has lively, perfumed aromas of kirsch, black raspberries, crushed flowers and spice to go with a medium-bodied, rich and beautifully textured palate. Concentrated and ripe, it stays fresh and lively, with a weightless, elegant feel. It, too, will benefit from another year or two and drink well through 2021. Drink now-2021.

This was a brilliant set of wines by Joe Davis, and lovers of old-school, age-worthy wines that improve in the cellar should not miss these."
92 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate -- August 2013

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 -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate -- August 2012


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