Santa Maria Syrah Love Letter to Rhône Fans
The 2014 Ojai Vineyard Bien Nacido Syrah impressed Antonio Galloni and Jeb Dunnuck, both protégés of Robert Parker, to the tune of a 94-point consensus. The former calls it “a powerful, meaty wine,” while the latter appreciates its “vibrant acidity and stunning purity.” Both critics also share a deep appreciation for Ojai Vineyard founder Adam Tolmach, the legendary winemaker who Galloni credits with making “some of the best wines readers will find anywhere for the money.” The source of Tolmach’s iconic Syrah is the equally legendary Bien Nacido, which Parker himself called “the most famous vineyard in Santa Maria.” Tolmach’s deft touch is just what’s needed to take a near-sacred vineyard, one of the Santa Barbara area’s oldest, to new heights. We have 350 cases of this elegantly structured selection up for grabs. Don’t wait.
When it comes to makers of world-class California Syrah, there’s Joey Tensley, Steve Beckman, Sashi Moorman, and of course Adam Tolmach. The reclusive curly-haired vintner some call “The Wizard of Ojai” was one of the original Rhône Rangers, an exclusive club of Rhône varietal promoters whose membership included pioneers like Bob Lindquist.
Lindquist’s pioneering work with Syrah at Bien Nacido back in the late 1980s inspired Tolmach to turn his attention to the vineyard’s hallowed Z Block. He’s driven more than one grower to madness with his rigorous protocol since then, but his relationship with the historic vineyard consistently yields rich rewards.
Dunnuck called 2014 a “classic, charming California vintage.” The Wizard of Ojai worked his charms that year, selecting only those vines that struggle the most to attain perfect ripeness. The alchemical result has the 2014 Ojai Vineyard Bien Nacido Syrah poised to shine for a couple of decades. Consider it a California Syrah love letter to fans of Rhône-style New World reds.