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2008 Rusack Vineyards Syrah Ballard Canyon Estate Santa Barbara County
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89(+?) Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - November/December 2010

($36; includes 12% petite sirah) Opaque purple. Smoky, oak-spiced aromas of blackberry and musky herbs, with a building mocha note. Ripe, palate-coating red and dark berry compote flavors are complicated by notes of smoke and bitter chocolate, with a refreshing kick of acidity coming up late. Tannins build with air, which suggests that this could use a little time. The finish repeats the bitter chocolate and vanilla qualities and closes on a gently sweet note.

91 Points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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About California

It is remarkable that an industry essentially less than a half-century old could capture the attention of the American wine-buying public to the degree that California has. Powerful consumer interest in California wine is driven by two major factors. The more obvious reason is that California's best wines, which come from grapes grown in...

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While the grape is currently grown throughout the world, the most elegant Syrahs still come from the Northern Rhone valley, particularly the appellations of Côte Rôtie, Cornas, and Hermitage. Here, steep, terraced vineyards help produce full-bodied, intense, tannic wines loaded with white pepper and red fruit. In the vineyard, Syrah is largely cooperative- vines are productive, but not overly vigorous. Skins are thick, helping the grape...
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