2012 Qupe Syrah Santa Barbara County

2012 Qupe Syrah Santa Barbara County

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A past Wine Access story about 2012 Qupe Syrah Santa Barbara County

Drink now for its hedonistic youthful fruit and opulence or lay down for another 5-7 years.

Bob Lindquist’s Qupé — An Early Champion Of American-Made Syrah


If you asked us to list some of our favorite American Syrah producers, we’d tell you about Ann Colgin and Joey Tensley, and about the few times we’ve been lucky enough to try Elaine and Manfred Krankl’s Sine Qua Non. We’d tell you about our stash of Sashi Moorman and Arnot-Roberts Syrahs too. But anyone following the rise of American Syrah would instantly recognize that list is incomplete without the trailblazer himself, Bob Lindquist of Qupé.

Over the last three and a half decades, Lindquist has established himself as one of America’s great Syrah-makers and, as an original member of the Rhone Rangers, he’s been a major proponent of Rhône Valley varieties.

In 1979, Bob started working at Zaca Mesa, where he met Jim Clendenen. By 1982, Jim had founded Au Bon Climat winery. A year later Lindquist established Qupé and began churning out brilliant Syrahs, most notably from Bien Nacido Vineyard. By 1989, the owners of Bien Nacido were so impressed by Lindquist and Clendenen that they offered to build and lease a winery to both men on site; Qupé’s wines are still produced at the facility in Santa Maria Mesa, in the heart of Bien Nacido.

Of course, you don’t spend more than three decades making some of the world’s finest Syrahs without attracting attention. Wine & Spirits has said “Bob Lindquist makes some of the most consistently fine syrah in California,” and his wines have landed on the W&S Top 100 lists more than a dozen times. Wine Spectator has called him a “a leader in Santa Barbara Rhône-style” wines. “The wines of Bob Lindquist,” Robert Parker wrote, “continue to go from strength to strength.”

Lindquist’s 2012 Qupé Syrah is two-thirds Syrah, and a splash of Grenache drawn off Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley, with one-third from the Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard in the Edna Valley.

By all accounts, the 2012 growing season for Santa Barbara County was the most spectacular since the new millennium — especially for Rhône varieties. The first of four straight drought years, every top winemaker we visited told us that they’d never seen such clean, perfectly formed Syrah clusters. Harvested in the second week of October under glorious blue skies, the berries were ultra-sweet even as actual sugar levels were perfectly in balance with acids and tannins.

The 2012 Qupé Santa Barbara Syrah is inky purple/black in color, infused with explosive aromas of blackberry, black cherry, and pepper spice. Full throttle on the attack, and almost chewy in texture, packed with blue- and black-fruit preserves, tinged with Hermitage-like high-toned pepper. A persistent and focused finish. Drink now for its hedonistic youthful fruit and opulence or lay down for another 5-7 years.

90 points from Wine Enthusiast. $30/bottle at the Qupé tasting room in Los Olivos, CA, and by all means, go there if and when you can. Or just $25/bottle today via WineAccess and that “Buy” button. You make the call. 75 cases are earmarked for this WineAccess debut! Shipping included on 6.

About Syrah

Syrah Facts

Flavor Profile

Full-bodied tannic wines with red fruit flavors in France and black fruits in the New World

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