Mon 17 Oct 2011
Zaca Mesa was a pioneer in bringing syrah to Santa Barbara County, planting that region’s first syrah vines in 1978. Founded in the early ’70s, the winery first planted just about every grape variety available but gradually narrowed the field to Rhone Valley types. Since the 1990s, Zaca Mesa has produced only Rhone-style wines, with a focus on estate and single-vineyard syrah. Winemaker is Eric Mohseni.
Wine of the Week is the Zaca Mesa Syrah 2008, Santa Ynez Valley, the producer’s basic syrah wine. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 35 percent new, 65 percent up to four years old, the wine offers complex layering of spicy, floral and earthy elements woven with dense, chewy grainy tannins and lively acidity, all set in fine balance. The color is dark ruby-purple; aromas of blackberries, black currants and plums are permeated by notes of sage and thyme, smoky oak and leather, violets and lavender and a pointed dusty graphite quality. So far, this is textbook syrah, and the impression deepens with ripe, spicy and concentrated black and blue fruit flavors founded on a classic character of slightly mossy underbrush qualities that generously unfold to reveal a core of potpourri, bitter chocolate and scintillating slate-like minerality. The finish is long and spicy. Lovely purity and authenticity and well-suited to an upcoming Fall season of braised and grilled meat. 14.5 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2014 or ’15. Excellent. About $25.
A sample for review.