Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Tasted through a few of these last year and been dying to share them with you. I own a LOT of Qupé and have been a huge fan of the brand for decades–as should YOU. Everyone knows the winery was sold, and the original leaders of the wine-making team are no longer involved. Yes, it went from a storied, family-run label to a corporate acquisition, and the devotees to these wines are–somewhat justifiably, I suppose–pissed. Every time I post a Qupé, I get a myriad of THE SKY IS FALLING comments and messages, as they assume–and usually suggest–the quality of the wines have been ruined. Granted, we are still in the wee years of the transition, and anybody with even a cursory knowledge of winemaking know changes on the floor happen slowly, over many years, as many wines are in barrel–years from release. The whites are obviously the first indications, and reds produced under a new regime can often take many years to reach the shelf. Obviously, there are an abundance of hands involved in a fairly large-production winery, and during brand sales, many fingers can be in the pies in regard to *making* and *finishing* the wine. I feel–after slowly being exposed to the new wines–the distinctness of the wine is safe. I’ve been rather impressed. The wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth is unjustified.

To wit: This is their cheapest red, an entry-level, general-AVA’d supermarket darling clocking in at well under $30. Clear, bright ruby with purple tones thinning to pink at the rim. Distinctive barnyard in the nose–something entry-level wines typically avoid–a round, loamy wet-hay compost so delicious to smell in a good wine. Fruit is a cherry-dominant elixir dangling brushy sage and chaparral strongly around the edges. With considerable air, it shows a deep meaty ripeness, but even then the briary angles are working hard.

In the mouth, ALL Syrah. GOOD Syrah. Geeky Syrah. Not *red blend* Syrah or the bling-bro confections Paso produces. It is also not watered-down vapidity as the price would suggest. Tangy blackberry delirium etches all surfaces with grip and acid. The barnyard funk in the nose is noticeable on the palate–something else most cheap California-grown Rhones can not claim. Dusty and intense–while maintaining THE OPPOSITE of any sort of colloidal-suspension concentration–it is delicate and invigorating, polished and raw: a true testament to good Syrah and THE BEST “CENTRAL COAST” THEY HAVE PRODUCED.

This is not sell-out corporate plonk. This is gorgeous Syrah.

2018 QUPÉ Syrah Central Coast Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo/Monterey Counties13.5

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