Alban Estate Syrah Reva 2006
Syrah/Shiraz from Central Coast, California
#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.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2006 Syrah Reva, coming from parcels of dark, volcanic soil, has off-the-chart richness and intensity. This thick, opaque-purple colored wine offers up notes of scorched earth, ground pepper, and blackberry liqueur intermixed with cassis, licorice, camphor, and tar. The wine is spectacular in every sense. Full-bodied and certainly not for wimps, this is a remarkably concentrated yet very nuanced and intense wine that should age for 20 more years."
Wine Spectator - "A luxurious style, rich, layered and dramatic, yet stays stylishly textured and balanced, offering a fleshy core of deep blackberry, wild berry and plum, with shades of tar, mineral, pepper and sage. Drink now through 2022."
International Wine Cellar - "Glass-staining purple. Blackberry, boysenberry and licorice pastille on the nose, with mounting spice and floral notes and a strong wallop of cracked pepper. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit flavors expand with air and pick up strong spicecake and candied flower notes, along with velvety tannins. More backward than the Lorraine today, and showing a darker profile. The finish completely stains the palate and lingers with intense floral and spicy persistence. This is still a baby.
94(+?) points "
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Alban Vineyards is the first America winery and vineyard established exclusively for Rhone varieties. Conceived at a time when there were virtually only two "flavors" of wine produced in the U.S., they set out to introduce wine grapes that would offer oenephiles a new world of possibilities. Pioneering Roussanne, Grenache Noir and Viognier to go along with meticulously selected clones of Syrah, Alban Vineyards has guided consumers and producers to the enormous potential of Rhone varietals in California. View all Alban Wines
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 FactsGrape 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.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into 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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.