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Ampelos Cellars Gamma: The Complex Syrah 2012

Syrah/Shiraz from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
  • WS90
  • WE90
14.2% ABV
  • WS91
  • WE92
  • WS90
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The best black tie BBQ you have ever been to. Rustic yet refined. Prada meets Luccese and they dance into the night asa notes of Turkish tobacco, sweet licorice and Madagascar vanilla permeate the air. Deep hues and luscious layers of currants, blueberries, dark chocolate, Cuban cigars, and a hint of mint are the opulent guests of a confident cowboy who is always calm in a room full of strangers. Well behaved guests never make history... enjoy the party!

Certified bio-dynamic.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Compact, with expressive aromas of blueberry, bitter chocolate and smoked meat and well-structured flavors of dried berry, orange zest and cracked pepper. Drink now through 2026.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Soft, round and lengthy, there's a lot to admire and enjoy in this wine. Licorice, leather and undulating ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit combine on the palate. It's medium bodied, intense and complex, with dark chocolate accents on the finish.
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Ampelos Cellars

Ampelos Cellars

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Ampelos Cellars, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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Ampelos is a Greek word meaning "vine". We believe that all great wines are made in the vineyard, we also have strong ties to Greece, so “ampelos” truly represents our focus.

We believe in taking care of and respecting the environment and that our vineyard needs to be in balance, therefore a few years ago we made the decision to go 100% bio-dynamic. This means we are essentially organic - yet a step beyond. In 2008, we were one of the first vineyards to be certified as Sustainably Farmed, a milestone of which we are particularly proud.

Sta. Rita Hills

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A superior source of Californian wine beloved by Burgundy fans, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, western most sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation in Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.

The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil, grapes ripen just enough, retaining brisk acidity and demonstrating saline minerality and harmonious balance.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

SBE103542_2012 Item# 178015