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Brander Santa Ynez Valley Syrah 2014

Syrah/Shiraz from Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    This versatile wine - as always, a tremendous value- exemplifies Santa Barbara County Syrah. The hue of dried dark red rose petals, this opens with notes of vanilla bean, campfire smoke, cardamom, and the barest hint of iodine on the nose. Fruit of great purity appears on the palate, which offers violets, black cherry, clove, wild blueberries, and an almost subliminal sense of what the French refer to as "sauvage" - that combination of wild and earthy gaminess that is such a hallmark of classic Syrah. Pair this with grilled, paprika-dusted eggplant with homemade ricotta, Santa Maria-style tri-tip barbecue, or a plate of dry-cured olives with fresh burrata and a chunk of deliciously crusty bread.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Brander

    The Brander Vineyard

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    The Brander Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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    The planting of the Brander Vineyard to mainly Bordeaux varietals began in 1975. In 1977, the first harvest of Sauvignon Blanc grapes were taken to a neighboring winery where Fred Brander produced a wine so distinctive it captured Santa Barbara County's first gold medal for a wine at a major wine competition (1978 Los Angeles County Fair).Since its inception, the Brander vineyard has been highly acclaimed as a top Sauvignon Blanc producer, and for many years the only Brander wine was an estate-bottled Sauvignon Blanc. Today, the winery produces an average of 8,000 cases of wine from its 43 acres of vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. The focus on production is Sauvignon Blanc, with one main bottling and three distinctively different reserve bottlings of that variety. A small quantity of red wines is also produced with Merlot and our Bordeaux-blend called Bouchet being the most popular.

    Santa Ynez Valley

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    Ranging from cool and foggy in the west to warm and dry in the east, the Santa Ynez Valley is a climatically diverse growing area. The most expansive AVA within the larger Santa Barbara County region, Santa Ynez is also home to a wide variety of soil types and geographical features. The appellation is further divided into four distinct sub-AVAs—Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District and Happy Canyon—each with its own defining characteristics.

    A wide selection of grapes is planted here—more than sixty different varieties, and counting. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate in the chilly west, while Zinfandel, Rhône blends, and Bordeaux blends rule the arid east. Syrah is successful at both ends of the valley, with a lean and peppery, Old-World sensibility closer to the coast and lush berry fruit further inland.

    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.

    WWH136790_2014 Item# 144786