Hop On Bard

An unmistakable blue-purple clear Syrah crimson in the glass. Toasty and roasty in the nose, glazed shish-ka-bob vegetables, a shrill young pepper storming through cinnamon and ginger-glazed licorice, carrying angelic darling boysenberry and rose-hips SO saline, SO petrichor, SO gratingly gorgeous–I haven’t tasted anything like this South of Sonoma Coast.

Whenever a firmly established winemaker starts a second label–especially when it is the dude’s middle name, or his brother’s name or something–and doesn’t just come right out and boldly announce the intent of the label in pure non-marketing-spun words, you always kinda assume it is a cheaper thing… with easier fruit… and less sophistication. I don’t have to tell you about Margerum Syrahs. They are ridiculously good. The entire world knows what those wines are like. So I kinda poo-poo’d Barden for the first year or so until running into them at Santa Barbara Futures Festival and I *almost* skipped them, but the winemaker was, like, Come’on… these are different… these are a different style… here we’re going for a fresher, greener, lower alcohol, more No. Rhone style. WHAAAAAAT? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. I couldn’t get them in the glass fast enough. And they are NOT cheaper.

In the mouth, match-head and granite come quickly to rest against a wall of firm sour cherry. It sweetens and deepens and ripens pushing into the middle, coating the tongue with thin nectar and ridiculous acid. Blackberry seeds, black olives and black walnut amp the game up, but the fruit holds on–as delightfully light, elegant fruit often does in well-made wines. Tannins are an abrasive sort, but there’s a buttery coating to them, letting the fruit run abreast far down that dirt road.

How much more do you want to know about this wine? It’s fucking delicious. Stupid, STUPIDLY young though. Buy a case and drink one a year.

2017 BARDEN Syrah Santa Rita Hills Santa Ynez Valley California 12.8


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