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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 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.

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.

CGM09397_2001 Item# 58338