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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
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  • WE92
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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.

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Sta. Rita Hills

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A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within 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. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.

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Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

SBE103542_2012 Item# 178015