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Garretson Aisling Syrah 2004

Syrah/Shiraz from Central Coast, California
  • RP92
0% ABV
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3.8 4 Ratings
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3.8 4 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Our Aisling (pronounced ‘ASH-ling') Syrah serves as a stylistic counterpoint to all the other Syrahs we produce. The other Syrahs in our portfolio come from cooler vineyard sources, whereas Aisling is from slightly warmer sites. All of our other Syrahs have a little bit of Viognier added to the final blend. Not Aisling. It's always 100% Syrah. And while all of our other Syrahs utilize French cooperage, the Aisling is always partially barrel fermented and aged in American oak…usually 50% to 70% new.

When we describe our production protocol for the Aisling, many people immediate assume that this wine will be in an ‘Aussie' style. After all, most of the finest Australian Shiraz are a blend of Syrah vineyards, partially barrel fermented and aged in American oak, etc. While the protocol is similar, the end result usually has more in common with the Northern Rhône appellation of Crozes-Hermitage.

Our Aisling showcases aromas of Herbes de Provence, earth, cherry and spice, and flavors of kirsch, plum, minerals, blueberry and pepper. The palate is rather immense and extracted, but there's good acidity and finely-integrated tannins that keep it all in check.

When it comes to our two blended vineyard Syrahs, there's a basic rule of thumb. If you're a Francophile chances are that you'll enjoy our Craic. If, on the other hand, you enjoy bigger, bolder, New World wines, the Aisling will be more to your liking.

Aisling is a Gaelic word that means ‘dream' or ‘vision', and describes a Syrah that follows a decidedly different vision than our other Syrahs. And different is good.

"Smoky, peppery, and earthy is the 2004 Syrah The Aisling (100% Syrah). It exhibits tremendous depth, richness, and full-bodied power as well as a long, textured, heady finish. Consume it over the next decade."
-Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Garretson, Central Coast, California
The fact that Paso Robles has emerged as California’s leading “Rhône Zone” can be attributed in no small measure to the efforts of Mat Garretson. This former Atlantan was already a fan of Syrah, but it was his introduction to Viognier that opened his eyes to the entire spectrum of this exotic family of grape varieties. "In 1982, a fellow retailer gave me a bottle of wine labeled ‘Condrieu’ as a birthday present," recalls Garretson. "I wasn’t too impressed...until I opened the bottle." That bottle sparked an obsession so complete that Garretson is often referred to as ‘Mr. Viognier’ by his fellow winemakers.

Garretson Wine Company’s focus is solely on crafting the best Rhône wines possible. In honor of the couple’s shared heritage, each wine features some manner of Gaelic-inspired reference. "You may not be able to pronounce the names," admits Garretson, "but remember, you don’t pronounce wines. You drink them."

While over the years Garretson has been no doubt instrumental in bringing fellow wine drinkers into the Rhône wine fold, he still feels a strong sense of obligation to keep spreading the word. "If I hadn’t been given that bottle of Condrieu so long ago, all of this may never have happened," he insists. "That one bottle led me to California, led me to a wonderful woman and an incredible family...not to mention all of the friends I’ve gained along the way. Just think: perhaps a bottle of one of our wines might just have the same affect on someone somewhere. That would be the finest honor we could hope for."

Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast 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 Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.


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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.

LSB95543_2004 Item# 95543