#13 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010
Released this fall, after having spent 43 months in barrel. It is a great vintage for this winery, and fortunately there are decent quantities available, since 2006 was a far more abundant vintage than the three very tiny crop years of 2007, 2008, and 2009. The Syrahs of 2007 are again extraordinary. I am sure they will continue to become more concentrated and put on weight as they spend more time in barrel. The 2008s won't be released for another few years, so I will only give some brief comments. To reiterate, there is no 2008 Seymour's, and production is even smaller at Alban in 2008 than it was in 2007. I tasted through barrel samples of the 2009 Grenache, Mourvedre, and several Syrah cuvees, and this appears to be a flamboyant vintage with big fruit, lots of ripeness, heady alcohol, and a soft, luscious, up-front style. The 2009s will be even more flattering and charming than the 2008s.
Rhone Ranger pioneer John Alban was one of the very first to recognize the potential of France's Rhone Valley grapes planted on California's Central Coast. He is essentially the lone wolf in the Edna Valley, so Alban sits at the summit of quality in this region. His wines are probably the most concentrated wines of all the major wines reviewed in this report, but there is much more to them than just pure brute concentration. These are wines with extraordinary aging potential. Going through the 1999s and 2000s that I had purchased from Alban, they are still incredibly young wines, and I think it's safe to say, these are probably among the longest-lived Rhone Ranger wines being produced in California.