Santa Barbara winemekers seem to have a way with Syrah. And Santa Barbara wine lovers are proud of that. I attended a wine tasting event in Santa Barbara last year and had a conversation with a lovely grandmother out for a little vino in the sunshine. I told her about my website, and she seemed genuinely offended at the name, Now and Zin. "Why not Syrah?" she asked with a fair amount of incredulity showing. So, just for her, we'll call this site "Yes, Syrah, That's My Bottle" today. Just this once.
One of the many fine wineries in Santa Barbara County is Fess Parker. The actor who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone made quite a name for himself in other fields, too. Real estate, for one - check out how much of the coastline has his name on it in Santa Barbara. Wine for another. His winery has not only some of the most beautiful grounds on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, but some of best wines, too.
In a brownish Syrah bottle, Fess Parker's 2006 vintage is a stout drink at 15.5% abv. There is little else on the labels except for a small blurb thanking me for buying the wine and a brief description of the flavors I'm likely to encounter while drinking it. Oh yes, and a tiny little coonskin cap.
There is a strong nose of currant, some black cherry (or maybe even wild cherry cough drops) and a good deal of spiciness. Lots of alcohol is apparent, too. The wine really should be decanted for an hour or so. I waited thirty minutes after nearly getting a buzz on the first sip. It wasn't long enough. Although the wine had tamed a bit by the third night it was open, I still caught a significant alcohol aroma. Despite the strength of the wine, the flavor really delivered. The peppery spices are abundant and the fruit was not a bit bashful. Blackberry and currant are what stand out for me. It tasted very nice when just a bit of it was taken with a bite of baked ziti. A mouthful might have overwhelmed the delicate marinara sauce and mozzarella. I would think a steak charbroiled over a rosemary grill would be more in line with what this wine wants as a partner.
Variety: 100% Syrah
Appellation: California > Central Coast > Santa Barbara County
Vineyard: 84% Camp Four, 16% Rodney's Vineyard
Alcohol level: 15.5% abv
Acquisition disclaimer: Purchased by the author