Alban Seymour's Vineyard Syrah 2005
One of my first thoughts in setting up my winery was that I would not name wines for family. My first Syrah was dubbed Reva- which is my mother’s name, almost as a very organic afterthought. Within moments of unveiling that wine, my father asked, ‘So?’ I quickly realized that was shorthand for: “So when will there be a wine named for me?” If anyone deserves such a tribute, it is unquestionably my father. A practicing physician since the age of 21, part of the army aircorp during World War II, planning to retire now that he is 93, Sy is the care giver we all dream to find when the time comes that we are in need.
Atop the most distant peak from our winery and main vineyard there is a dense vein of flint that is mixed with chalk and sandstone. This soil produces the grapes that make Seymour’s: aromatics of Asian spices, and flavors of smoked meats, graphite, and licorice. This syrah is our most structured and broad.
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From a cooler year, the 2005 Syrah Seymour’s Vineyard exhibits a more European personality than the classically Californian 2004. The 2005 reminds me of a broodingly backward, dark purple-colored Hermitage from the northern Rhone. Aromas of scorched earth, creme de cassis, truffles, and graphite emerge from this cuvee. With remarkable density, structure, precision, and freshness as well as sensational equilibrium (despite its weight and intensity), it should be at its finest between 2012-2025+. The wines of John and Lorraine Alban are about as spectacular as one can find anywhere in the world. Alban is committed to aging his big Syrahs longer in barrel, believing it will concentrate the wines and add additional complexity.
Intense, firm and structured, with spicy white pepper, sage, dried herb, mineral and dusty berry flavors that are compact, focused and full-bodied, ending in a tight, tannic finish.
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.”