Saturday, May 5, 2007

Rating: **** 2004 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Syrah, Santa Ynez, CA

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Original Review: To start with, there's no secret in the fact that I'm a fan of the rich, multi-layer Australian shiraz in the classic Sarah and Sparky Marquis tradition, like Marquis Philips Shiraz and Mollydooker The Boxer. This Santa Ynez valley syrah is reputed to be somewhat from that same genre. (You no doubt realize that "shiraz" and "syrah" are different names for the same grape. Still, that doesn't stop many shiraz/syrah's from tasting like completely different types of wine.) From the start, the Stolpman Syrah does march to a different drummer. The Stolpman bottle is a rhone style, very heavy glass, not the bordeaux style bottle common to Australian shiraz. I'm looking forward to this wine, though, since Qupe Syrah is sourced in part from the Stolpman Vineyards, and I greatly enjoyed a vintage Qupe recently.

To the eye, the Stolpman has a familiar opacity, deep dark in the middle, fading slightly at the brim to a purple and ruby glint. The nose is appealing, moving modestly beyond the glass, though not filling the room. It is a nose of cabernet-style fruit, with a slight hint of that Australian bright creaminess (is that eucalyptus?), a touch of fresh-laundry and a flicker of farm dirt. The flavors bring just what the nose promised, adding a nice round berry touch, violets and crisp toast, and finishing with a dusting of still-youthful tannins. This felt balanced in a more subtle way than the Aussies.

For comparison, Robert Parker gave this 93 points and said, "The 2004 Syrah Estate, which includes a dollop of Viognier, exhibits a dark ruby/purple color as well as beautifully uplifting aromas of black fruits, flowers, and a hint of smoky barrique. Rich, full-bodied, opulent, luscious, and intense, it should drink well for 5-6 years."


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2 comments:

  1. I am enjoying your reviews. ;-)

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  2. Thanks, C.J. I see from your link you are Santa Barbara-based. Any wineries nearby that you would consider must-visits? (I will have a short visit there later this spring.)

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