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100% Syrah aged 42-months in French oak offers up more fruit and purity than normal, with only hints of its normal iodine/seaweed tinged profile. Loaded with sweet black raspberry, cassis, wild herbs, flowers and subtle blood and iodine qualities, it is a full-bodied, decadent Syrah that has incredible mid-palate depth, beautiful freshness and a blockbuster finish.
"I had a great visit with John Alban, whose estate is located at the southern end of the Edna Valley and in one of the coolest AVAs in California. Despite this, he makes some of the most concentrated, rich and age-worthy reds and whites from the entire state. Looking at the recent vintages, John commented that while 2014 started incredibly early, there wasn't that much heat in June and July, and September was cool as well. All of this resulted in harvest dates that were not far from normal. Seymour's Vineyard came in between October 7th and 8th, which is on par with 2004. Looking at 2013, John commented that the magic of this vintage was the even heat accumulation and no heat spikes, which resulted in perfect phenolic ripeness and no edge to the tannin. While 2013 had a later bud break than 2014, it was still earlier than 2012, and harvest occurred during the second half of October. I was only able to taste one 2013 from John, so will report more on this vintage next year. While I wasn’t able to taste the 2012 single-vineyard Syrahs, if the Grenache (both the Grenache and Pandora were tasted) and Patrina release are any indicators, this looks to be a sensational vintage here and a return to the voluptuous and decadent style that’s the hallmark of the estate. As for the 2011s, this was the coolest vintage on record in California and the smallest crop ever for Alban. The wines are distinctly different from past vintages, and dare I say, have plenty of northern Rhone-like character. Despite the freakishly cold weather, these are no lightweight wines and they have shocking concentration in the vintage. These will need short-term cellaring but I doubt they'll be as long-lived as the larger framed vintages. Nevertheless, they're beautiful, singular wines. As I said last year, it remains a mystery to me why no one else in the Edna Valley tries to make wines of the quality that is so often achieved here." (The Wine Advocate, 94-96 points, Jeb Dunnock)