Alban Reva Estate Syrah 2006
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.
Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”