Thursday, November 29, 2012

Longoria Syrah Santa Barbara County, Alisos Vineyard 2008


Rick Longoria bailed on law school to spend his time in a wine cellar.  When his first winemaking gig didn’t allow him to produce Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, he struck out on his own to scratch that itch.  Longoria was the first winemaker to base his operation in the industrial park which has become fondly known as the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.  He goes for balance in his wines, and designs them to accompany food, to be a part of a meal.

The Longoria Alisos Vineyard Syrah was purchased at the Longoria tasting room in Los Olivos.  It goes for $34 retail.  At 15.2% abv, this Syrah packs some power.  It aged in French oak - one-third of it new - for 22 months.  The winery produced only 98 cases.

On his website, Longoria reveals the source of his grapes.  He writes, "I first began working with Rhone varietals in 1998. Since then I have narrowed down our vineyard sources to just two local vineyards, Alisos in the Los Alamos Valley and Clover Creek in the Santa Ynez Valley.  Each is bottled separately and each provides us with a different interpretation of the Syrah grape, due to the unique qualities of the two sites."

The wine is very dark, an inky, purple color.  The bouquet is readily available long before my nose gets into the glass.  Dark aromas of blackberry and tar waft up, smelling very much like the northern Rhône.  The flavors come from that area, too, with back fruit leading the way for savory notes of bacon and anise.  Cola and tea notes remind me of Pinot Noir - a pretty stout Pinot, to be sure.  What really grabs me is the acidity, that mouthwatering tingle that means the wine is destined to go with food.  It's a fairly amazing quality in this juicy Syrah, so much so that it competes with the flavors.  That’s a competition in which there are no losers.