You know, it’s funny how we can *forget* about a wine. A brand. We get all wrapped up in the hot new kids, their methods and showcase vineyards, possibly flashy labels and glowing social media content–and I’m not taking anything away from them, I’m guilty of this myself, in fact: I’m TALKING about myself. And especially with Syrah. All the North Coast and Santa Barbara darlings with their high scores and sometimes high prices, their wooing of somms and reviewer ink and subsequent limelight bask. And yet here we have a brand plugging along without flash or fanfare, made in a dingy barn way off up a dirt road, no *destination* tasting room with couches and vinyl and Instagram walls, no GQ winemaker addressing social issues or telling spellbinding stories of terroir or avant-garde vinification. And yet, calmly off on the side, Qupé makes some of the best Syrah on the Central Coast and even in California. The stuff is just timeless and age-defying, beautiful out-of-the-chute and flat-out mind-numbing with a few years under its belt.
This is a young one. Black ruby with an overall garnet glow. The edge is black and grainy and the clear rim razor-thin. The amount of fruit this thing pumps into the nose defies comprehension, brett and barnyard riding flawlessly on black cherry, root beer, Nyquil and licorice. The dusty fuzz coating your nostrils hints at acid and tannin, but the gobb-stopping concentration doesn’t allow contemplation of these elements possibly to come. It’s all so INTEGRATED. It’s all so seamlessly fucking PERFECT. Tertiary polish is definitely starting on this one at 8, but the weird thing about these wines is their ability to remain at *peak*–I hate to even use that word because it is not a mountainous graph–for their entire mature lifespan. Have you ever had a tired Qupé Syrah?
Everything goes dead-calm in the mouth. A speechless pause as all senses attempt to grasp something–ANYTHING–out of place. The baseline of a wine review is things that stand out, and with these wines, finding something to talk about amongst the flawless balance and effortless fruit and structure is difficult. So maybe I’ll just shut up. I don’t have to sell this wine to you. If you know, you know. Those who have momentary interactions are luckier for the experience, and devotees don’t need the three paragraph lecture.
2012 QUPÉ ‘Hillside’ Syrah Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Co. 13.5