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2020 Upper Crust


2020 Upper Crust
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/ 750 ml

95 points - Wine Enthusiast
94 points - Vinous
93+ points - Jeb Dunnuck

"This blend of Syrah from Rancho Sisquoc and Nolan Vineyard is intense and dynamic on the nose, offering lamb fat, bittersweet brownie, smoked seaweed and caramelized fruit aromas. The palate combines nori, tapenade, smoked meat and roasted berry flavors. Drink now–2040." -- Matt Kettmann

"The 2020 Syrah Upper Crust is a potent wine. A rush of black cherry, plum, espresso, licorice, menthol and chocolate infuse the palate with notable depth. This bombastic Syrah is not at all subtle, but it is very, very good, and also easy to like. Vineyard sources are 66% Rancho Sisquoc and 34% Nolan." – Antonio Galloni 

“Blackberries, cracked peppercorns, rosemary, and hints of iron are just some of the nuances in the 2020 Upper Crust, a seamless, medium to full-bodied, flawlessy balanced, textured Syrah that already offers pleasure yet will keep for at least a decade.” -- Jeb Dunnuck

Historically, our Upper Crust Syrah has been sourced from Rancho Sisquoc in the Santa Maria Valley. I used to think nothing could ever rival the fruit from Sisquoc until I started working with the Syrah from the Nolan Vineyard in Alisos Canyon. Now I have two vineyards that grow crazy good Syrah. The fruit from these two great vineyards are comparable in quality but different in character, and the two of them together bring a lot of dimension and complexity to the wine, which is dark and concentrated with lavender and smoky qualities. This wine is structured enough to age for many years, but rich enough to be drinkable now, especially when paired with something robust. Think red meat.

Each year I go up to the Santa Maria area to purchase the Dijon 470 clone of Syrah that grows in the upper terrace on Rancho Sisquoc’s “McMurray Bench”. The upper terrace is a crusty old piece of dirt that was once described to me by, now-retired grower, Ed Holt as “concretious”, and thus the plight of the vines. They basically have to eke out an existence growing in a soil that is like cement when it dries out. It’s a plight that has forced many a great wine to come out of Block 2, where 3 acres of the clone 470 are located.

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