2015 Estate “Syrache” - Ampelos Cellars
Young blackberry, stemmy bramble, crunchy raspberry. Fresh cranberry, ground peppercorn, muddled red cherry. Fragrant violet and spring lavender, bay leaf and kalamata olive. Tense, tangy, and bright fruit begins an initial approach featuring wild mulberry, tart blueberry, and licorice; brash and assertive yet quickly subsiding behind rosemary, paprika, green tobacco, and a mountain of spice and savory tones. Cast iron, coarse salt, and meat char further complicate the multifaceted attack before turned earth, compost pile, and tumbleweed are eventually revealed. Dry rub and smokey tones mesh with perfumed florals to fill out the upper registers of this complex and edgy wine that checks in at medium plus in body, tannin, and acidity. Structured, delicious, and wonderfully contemplative. This 2015 Estate "Syrache" by Ampelos Cellars is a stellar cool climate Rhone blend from the Santa Rita Hills.
The Ampelos Vineyard sits in a unique isolated corridor on the eastern edge of Santa Barbara County's Santa Rita Hills. While it still experiences the dense fog and cooling winds that make this area so highly lauded its location is slightly warmer and better suited to ripening Rhone grapes than the rest of the appellation. This bottling, crafted by Ampelos Cellars using 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache all sourced from their biodynamic estate vineyard, is an exceptional expression of what Rhone grapes can accomplish when grown in extremely marginal climates. Although certainly not lacking in fruit this wine states it case through peppery herbs, smoked meat, and loamy earth tones and impresses with its delineation and bound-up energy. This wine is terrifically unpretentious yet extremely complex & delicious and is certainly worth tracking down.