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Io Upper Bench Syrah 2001

Syrah/Shiraz from Central Coast, California
  • W&S90
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

"Sleek and well-proportioned, with ripe plum, cherry and raspberry fruit supported by firm tannins. A touch of anise and blackberry on the pretty finish. Drink now through 2008. 1,100 cases made. (JL)"
-Wine Spectator

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
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Io
Io, Central Coast, California
Inspired by the winemaking heritage of the Southern Rhône Valley, Io is unique to Santa Barbara County. Its style is reminiscent of the dark fruit characteristics found in the great red wines of the Northern Rhône Valley, but its harmonious marriage of several varieties-namely Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre-reflects the tradition of artful blending of the Southern Rhône.

Fruit for Io is sourced from two outstanding Santa Barbara County vineyards-the Byron Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley and the Stolpman Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley. The temperate, marine-influenced climate and lean soils of both appellations are vitally important to the development of fully ripe, world-class quality fruit. Santa Barbara County enjoys an exceptionally long growing season due in part to its southern latitude that prompts an early budbreak. Cool temperatures further extend the maturation cycle and result in a long hang time for the grapes-critical to achieving wines of great character and concentration.

Central Coast

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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.

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.

CGM09397_2001 Item# 58338