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Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Valley Syrah 2006

Syrah/Shiraz from Central Coast, California
  • WS93
  • WE91
  • CG91
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Winemaker Notes

#29 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010

The 2006 growing season started a month late after an unusually cold March. Spring and summer were relatively mild with our average highs in the upper 80's. In early October, we had an afternoon down pour which increased our anxiety since the grapes were still hanging. Thankfully, it was quickly followed by warm, dry weather which allowed the grapes to ripen fully. Harvest came and went quickly, albeit a month late, yielding rich reds and bright whites.

After hand harvesting, the grapes were destemmed and placed into small open-top bins to cold-soak for 4 days and then to ferment, some with native yeast. During fermentation, the rising grape skins were punched down twice a day resulting in wine of intense color, rich flavors and fine tannins. This wine was aged for sixteen months in French oak barrels; 30% of them were new.

Our Syrah displays rich blackberry, cassis, espresso, mocha and our signature sage spice aromas and flavors. The silky finish lingers from the ripe tannins and smoky oak. This full-bodied wine should be enjoyed over the next ten years. A traditional pairing for this wine is a rack of lamb with rosemary and garlic. Grilled meats and bold cheese will also pair well.

Critical Acclaim

WS 93
Wine Spectator

Offering wonderful floral, grapey plum and wild berry aromas, this is rich, smooth and supple on the palate, with tiers dark berry, mocha, mineral and spice flavors that glide along. Drink now through 2015.

WE 91
Wine Enthusiast

A beautiful wine. If more Syrahs were like this, especially at this price, more people would buy them. It’s dry and smoothly tannic, with rich flavors of blackberries, bacon, chocolate and peppery spices. Try as an alternative to Zaca Mesa's much more expensive single vineyard and reserve Syrahs. It’s almost as good.

CG 91
Connoisseurs' Guide

Fans of expressively gamy Syrah should find a good deal to like here, but so too will those who like their Syrahs on the rich and well-ripened side. The wine is a big one, yet it is nicely balanced, and it does a fine job of hiding its heat. Neither its acidity nor its ample tannins are excessive, and the two are seamlessly fit. It is sufficiently fruity to enjoy early on but has the extract and depth to improve for a few years. Zaca Mesa seems to get it right with Syrah year in and year out. Well done.

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Zaca Mesa

Zaca Mesa

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Zaca Mesa, , California
Zaca Mesa
Foremost, Zaca Mesa, where our vineyards are rooted, is a place. This elevated plateau with its extraordinary vistas lies within the unique Santa Barbara coastal mountain corridors. Here, the land is softly pained by sunlight, directly cooled by the Pacific windstreams. For over 2000 years its bounties and its beauty were revered by the Chumash Indians. The Spanish settlers who arrived in the 17th century were the ones who named it "La Zaca Mesa," borrowing the word "Zaca" from the Chumash-meaning "peaceful" and adding their own "Mesa" meaning "table."

At over 1,500 foot elevation, the Zaca Mesa vineyards are among the highest in Santa Barbara County. Warm sunny days and cool, breezy afternoons produce temperature conditions ideal for our Rhone varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Cinsaut and Counoise.

This land has always driven our approach to farming. Way back in 1978, when Zaca Mesa was established, it was the first Santa Barbara County winery to plant the lush and luscious red/black Rhone grape Syrah. Zaca Mesa's estate program is now dominated by the incredible, blend-able Rhone superstars.

We are committed to the highest quality grapes, so year-round, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Ruben and his crew manage our 246 vineyard acres to maximize the unique character of our fruit. This means conservative cropping, resulting in fewer tons per acre, careful pruning to achieve that delicate balance between vigor and crop, and leaf pulling to encourage healthy cluster development.

Our wines are true to the uniqueness of our estate fruit, with a focus on quality. We are always working with new and exciting varietal blends, wines that pair perfectly with the cuisine of today. A little something off the grill and a glass of Zaca Mesa Syrah (or Chardonnay. or Z Cuvee. or Z Gris), we are proud to bring you our vineyard to your glass.

Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines...

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Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place the primary emphasis upon its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally warm to hot. In the center of the country lies a vast, dry plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought. Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, many of Spain’s wine regions are located on or near the milder coast, either of the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, or the Mediterranean sea to the south and east. Each of these regions has its own unique soil, climate, and topography, as well as principal grape varieties.

In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate, though elsewhere the most popular wines are generally red. Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from Viura. Ribera del Duero produces opulent, fruity, top-quality wines from almost exclusively Tempranillo. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, blends Garnacha with Cariñena (Carignan) to make bold, full-bodied wines with a hint of earthiness. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez. Since the 1990s, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc have been steadily increasing in importance in several regions.

CAR29376_2006 Item# 103443

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