Kunin Santa Barbara Syrah 2002
Syrah/Shiraz from Central Coast, California
"Seth Kunin continues to pursue an elegant, complex winemaking style that I find rewarding. His 2002 Syrah Santa Barbara reveals classic aromas of cassis along with tapenade and flowers (reminiscent of a Cote Rotie). Its velvety texture, purity and medium-bodied, finely-tuned style with currant, cassis, and licorice notes make it a dead ringer for a French northern Rhone. Enjoy it over the next 7-8 years."
Nose of red fruits and spice (oak). Cherry and darker fruits (plum) on palate, with oak undertones as well as some feral, earthy notes. Round and very pleasant. Clean finish with smooth tannins. Production - 615 cases.
It doesn’t do any good to make great wine if you can’t get it into the hands and mouths of the public, so a good understanding of the entire wine industry is invaluable. After eight years in the restaurant business, armed with a dangerous amount of knowledge and passion, I got a job in the cellar at the Gainey Vineyards in Santa Ynez and learned volumes from both the vineyard manager, Jeff Newton, and the winemaker, Kirby Anderson. How they put up with my constant barrage of totally inane questions I don’t know, but I am certainly thankful that they did.
Kunin Wines will never make 5,000 or even 10,000 cases of wine for just this reason. I want to make the best wine possible from the best vineyards possible year after year. Unfortunately, the best vineyards don’t always have that many grapes, so it is a fact of life for me that Kunin Wines will always be small, and that our production of various wines from different vineyards may fluctuate from vintage to vintage. By staying small and letting vineyard and vintage quality dictate production levels, however, we will always be able to make the best wines possible from the best grapes available. When you open a bottle of wine with a Kunin label, you can be assured that, from the vineyard to the glass, as little as possible was done to obscure the purity of fruit and terroir that Mother Nature created.
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About Central Coast
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Notable Facts Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.