Bright young ruby-purple, medium density but deep and staining like young Syrah should be. Intense floral and gravel notes rise effortlessly out of it, giving rise to dark black plum and spiced pear so ripe, so complex it makes “blackberry” look ridiculously elementary and completely unfulfilling. A slight alcohol burn tempers the petrichor and bruised nectarine, surprising, considering this is the *Cool Climate* version of Sinor’s two Syrah bottlings. With considerable air, this thing plumps up to perfect tarry dirty-baby-diaper and late-season green cover-crop on loam.
A quick google of California’s coolest coastal vineyards will turn up the usual Sonoma Coast suspects BUT ALSO some locations near San Luis Obispo which are surprising to most wine-enthusiasts. Enough of them to merit large chunks of any said list. Five, to be exact. Stolo, Derbyshire and Riven Rock in Cambria, Sinor on Bassi Ranch in Avila Beach, and Spanish Springs in Pismo Beach. All three of these lay in gentle-to-severely undulating foothills trapped in tiny valleys opening directly onto the Pacific Ocean. Almost within view of the water! Yes, San Luis Obispo County is Socal-near the Southern end of the Central Coast–but don’t let that throw you off the trail of cool-climate vineyards of Syrah and Pinot, battling marine layers, pogo-ing temperatures and fog with afternoon heat right into crush.
In the mouth, thinner than you expect. Everything in the nose–especially the alcohol and tar–built me up to this thing possibly being an undiluted power-house, but clean Northern Rhone Syrah finesse rules the roost here. Fruit so delicate, coyly shifting around in the shadows of clean pillars of minerality and acid. Bright cherry Kool-aid fruit, unavoidable and unforgettable, juggles grapefruit and black walnut in new definitions of Syrah yin-yang. So clean. So bright. So delicately wielding a sledgehammer of fruit you Just. Can’t. Get. Enough. Of.
2014 SINOR-LA VALLEE Syrah ‘White Label’ Bassi Vineyard San Luis Obispo Co. 13.8