WOW 2.21.18 - 2014 Syrah, John Sebastiano


Welcome to our Wine of the Week feature where we will explore in depth and detail a current release wine that seriously WOWs us. From tasting notes to critic reviews, suggested pairings to winemaking notes, we wish to highlight a wine that you can buy today and enjoy to its fullest with a higher level of insight and understanding. 

It’s a crisp and blustery day in Ojai — the sun, yet vibrant and piercing in its clear blue sky —struggles to warm the Northern wind that sweeps through the valley and awakens your goose bumps. Ah, Winter — is that you? If you live locally, or have visited recently, you are well aware that scarfs and coats have yet to make a stronghold in this area and have instead been replaced with sunhat and shorts. January and February have been uncharacteristically warm here — the weather being more akin to late Spring rather than the dead of winter. But the weather has begun to refer back to its more normal temperament (albeit dry) and it’s starting to be red wine weather again! Now that we can put our Rose of Grenache down (if only for a moment), it’s time to turn to our other Rhone obsession - Syrah!

The Wine: 

2014 Syrah, John Sebastiano Vineyard - $48 bottle, $38.40 wine club

Buy now! On our website or in our Tasting Room 

The Varietal:

Syrah is a hefty, earthy and complex red wine varietal from the Rhone region in France. A wine that sings a song of itself, Syrah is full of contradictions, maintaining multitudes of flavors, textures and aromas. Spice and silk, cured meat and candied berries — Syrah has it all and then some. Luckily for us, Syrah thrives in the Central Coast as it is a robust and vigorous varietal that can grow in warm and cool climates alike. 

The Vineyard:

John Sebastiano Vineyard is situated on the eastern end of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and as such is generally warmer than most of the AVA. Its high elevation and ocean-facing hillsides, however, lend to very extreme growing conditions. Low yields and tiny berries give highly concentrated and unique flavors, and the strong maritime winds keep temperatures moderate. The resulting fruit is usually meaty and spicy, with complex yet silky, smooth tannins and good acidity. We love this site because it continually produces fruit that allows us to make wine similar to those coming from the Northern Rhone. John Sebastiano Vineyard may not yet be a household name like Bien Nacido, but we would encourage anyone to get their hands on as much JSV wine as possible as we have never met a Syrah (or Grenache) from this site we didn’t like. Of course, we are partial to our 2014 vintage and we aren’t the only ones… 

Google Earth

What the critics say:

92 points - Wine Enthusiast Magazine 

"From a vineyard on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills, this bottling shows candied boysenberry, mocha, cherry compote, star anise and cinnamon on the nose. The palate is layered with tons of spice, from star anise and clove to licorice, which add depth to the black cherry base. The tannins are soft and polished." - Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast 

Wine Specs:

ABV: 13.9%
pH: 3.68
Oak: 20% new French oak
Aging: 19 months
Varieties: Syrah
AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
Cases Produced: 91 

    Winemaking Notes: 

    We cold-soaked the fruit for only 3 days (as opposed to our usual 4-6 days on Syrah), because the fruit was so intense. We used a yeast that would help capture the meat and spice characters of this wine, punched down once daily, and gently pressed to taste.

    Suggested Pairing:

    Pan Roasted Lamb chops with a mint-honey-balsamic gastrique.

    Suggested Aging: 

    This Syrah will age beautifully if you have the willpower to lay it down for 4-6 years. However, if you decide to drink it tonight, we can promise that you will enjoy every last sip.