2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah

2006 Zaca Mesa SyrahPrice: $16.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “93 points and a “Smart Buy” designation from Wine Spectator: “Offering wonderful floral, grapey plum and wild berry aromas, this is rich, smooth and supple on the palate, with tiers of dark berry, mocha, mineral and spice flavors that glide along. Drink now through 2015.” (02/10) Zaca Mesa has been on a serious roll over the last few vintages with their Santa Ynez Valley Syrah bottling. The 2005 was wonderful with its mix of ripe fruit and intense spice, the 2006 is more of the same except that it is even bigger and has a little more of everything packed into the same $16.99 package. The nose is perfect varietal Syrah, full of roast fennel, hot tar, muffuletta, and sweet black berry jam. Back that with deep, perfectly ripe flavors of white pepper, cassis, fried sage and violet and this is one intense, full throttle Syrah. For well under $20 this is one of the biggest steals we currently have in the Domestic section. (Bryan Brick, K&L)”

What I Think:

After reading an intriguing tasting note from Steve Heimoff I set out to find the Zaca Mesa Grenache. That didn’t work out but I did find this Syrah and boy am I glad I did. Wow! It starts with a great nose. Deep fruit with brambly spice on a jammy nose. The palate is powerful with a surprisingly nice acidity that keeps it perfectly balanced. Nice layered flavors showing violets, blackberries, bacon, dusted chocolate and a nice mineral component to boot. The finish is loaded with herbs and spices and lingers on ever so nicely. This one makes me want to drink a whole lot more Syrah. Wine Spectator gave this one 93 points and I see why! This is the most enjoyable bottle of wine I have had in quite a while. I just bought a few more bottles and after taking a quick look as the other Zaca Mesa offerings this is a winery I need to explore further. Now if I can somehow just get my hands on that Grenache…

Rating: Wow! <- And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Interested in reading more about the Zaca Mesa Syrah?

2006 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

As always with this winery nothing to be found here. I do know these wines are made by the same winemaker that does the Kalyra Winery offering which runs for $14.50. That would make me think this might be a discrete second label if it weren’t for the fact that this URL can be found on the back of the bottle.

What I Think:

When bottlings from this winery first hit Trader Joe’s a few years back I tried the lot which at the time was Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer. The latter was the only that made an impression. After being blown away by their Cabernet Franc (#2 in the TJ’s Top 10 of 2007) I decided to revisit a few of the others. This was the first of those to find its way into my refrigerator.

As mentioned, when a friend showed up with this Groth we had an ideal chance to do some side by side tasting. As I also mentioned, these wines could not have been more different. This one seemed atypical of what I expect from this grape. The color was a richer, golden yellow rather that the pale, straw color I am used to. The wine was much heavier on the tongue and tended towards being syrupy though there were some traditional melon flavors. Not at all what I expected, but not bad either. Will I buy it again? Doubtful, If I am buying a Sauvignon Blanc that is what I want to get.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Cabernet Franc

Santa Ynez Valley Winery Cabernet FrancPrice: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per quaffability “Having spent a good chunk of the past week putting together an email blast for winery that ruffled a few feathers by selling their first release of Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc for $100, I was very interested when I spotted this Cab Franc at TJ’s , for $7.99 (I think). Folks don’t think of this Santa Barbara County appellation as a source for CF, as it’s known for Chard and Pinot Noir, of course, as well as Syrah. I had never heard of this winery before – the back label says it’s a new second label of Kalyra.

This wine is hot on the nose, but after the alcohol blows off there are some good leafy mineraly aromas overlaid by dusty cassis. The mouth offers nice silky texture, medium body, and good balance, with a short but tasty finish. Not much oak here. This is a lighter style of CF, more Chinon with some added fruit than Saint-Emilion. If I remember the price correctly, it’s a good value.”

What I Think:

Just opened this tonight and haven’t finished it yet but get this one if you see it. In fact add the label to your all stars category. Whenever you see something new from this winery get it. They produce a lot of bang for the buck…I’ll post a complete review later.

Done now and still smiling, this is good stuff! As mentioned on quaffability I was somewhat curious about Cab Franc from the Central Coast. Given that it is relative rare to find this bottled as a varietal offering at all in CA this was about the last place I would expect to see it. Checking the Kalyra site I find no mention of this wine but no worries it is a winner. On the nose I found some mineral notes overshadowed by mint or some similar leafy/aroma notes. In the mouth the wine is smooth. For Cab Franc the weight seems normal, the fruit is nice and the finish while not long is pleasant. Got another one of this sitting in the rack, looking forward to it…

Rating: Bulk Buy

2005 Santa Ynez Valley Winery Gewurztraminer

Price: $6.99 @TJ’s

What They Said:

Couldn’t seem to find anything on this, guess you’ll have to trust me.

What I Think:

This wine is made by Mike Brown at the Kalyra Winery where this bottles sells for $16.  Not sure if this is the same exact wine but I do know that this is very good.  I have gone through at least a case of this and have a mere one bottle left.  I still see the Savignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the stores but alas this can not be found.  If anyone see this wine please let me know, would love to get some more

Rating: Bulk Buy