A surprising amount of ruby and a surprising lack of brick. Really peppery nose–black pepper and scorched earth over a cherry compote robust in the nose, but the burnt weedy nuance is there, sharp and acrid, exposing a bouquet set far more in line with how the No. Rhone feels at this age than how Santa Barbara County Syrah typically feels. But this IS Santa Maria Valley–not Santa Ynez or Ballard Canyon or even Los Olivos–you MUST remember that.

No indication on the label of vineyard source, and my first guess would be Sierra Madre based on availability and price-point, but oh MAN does it smack of things I have smelled and felt from the other side of the river–from Ken Volk or Byron up on Nielson.

In the mouth, a thick and rich entry immediately goes acidic and quickly tannic as the first impulses to call the fruit *fading* form on your tongue. But not so fast. Rich and dense, concentrated blackberry and chocolate provide MORE than enough stuffing to offset a teensy bit of heat and still provide counter-spin on the grainy eucalyptus and petrichor. The shitty little dumbells of restaurant glasses SERIOUSLY impeded the fruit development and I had all but written this one off as *curious* but not delicious. Getting the 3/4 bottle home and into a Riedel has plumped it up nicely and produced a SHOCKING wine at 12 years for 25 dollars.

I’ve only seen these wines at a handful of local places, and I always welcome the distraction they provide on a winelist from the *usual Central Coast suspects*. I have also bought them from Mark Stellar at Old Town Market in Orcutt for years. Not sure the status of the winery–Brucher and Golden Bear–but the web site still lists THIS wine for sale.

2007 GOLDEN BEAR Syrah Santa Maria Valley Sta. Barbara Co. 14.3

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