Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rating: ****+ 2002 Blair Fox Cellars Syrah, Paradise Road Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, CA

Review: Never having heard of Blair Fox Cellars before, I tried this as a wine-by-the-glass at The Los Olivos Cafe in downtown Los Olivos CA during a recent visit.

In the glass, this syrah was dark red, turning to purple at the rim. The aroma was deep and roasty, with slightly earthy overtones. There was a note of alcohol also coming through in the aroma.

On the palate, any reservations I may have had about the wine were instantly removed. It came across with a luscious, creamy middle, with mouth-filling extract and a long finish. There was just a touch of earth in the palate too, almost a wave from the distance to any old-world fans. All in all the balance of this Blair Fox syrah was extraordinary.

The Paradise Road vineyard is the warmest of Blair Fox' Santa Barbara vineyards, approximating Australia in climate. Perhaps that's part of the reason it proved to be such a winner for me.

A wine I would have gladly purchased by the bottle and packed for the trip home. Alas, The Los Olivos Cafe, despite its large retail inventory, showed none on the shelves!

For comparison, Robert Parker gave this 91 points and said, "The serious, potentially stunning 2002 Syrah Paradise Road Vineyard reminded me of a modern-styled Cornas from France’s Rhone Valley. Scents of new saddle leather, smoke, barbecue spices, crème de cassis, and licorice emerge from this tannic, muscular, concentrated, rich, impressively endowed Syrah. It should age well for 10-12 years."

This wine was sampled as part of our brief expedition cruising Santa Ynez Valley.

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