2014 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Syrah, Ryan Spencer Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The 2014 Alfaro Ryan Spencer Syrah is amazingly youthful and fresh considering it spent over 20 months in barrel, in fact it’s downright grapey with a full mouth feel and vibrant acidity, this might be a wine to wait another 3 to 5 years on! If you have this one and feel the need to open now, be sure to have seriously robust cuisine and decant to get the best out of it, but certainly there’s a lot to like here, especially the deep fruit core and concentration. The tightly wound nature gives this wine a very un-evolved/primary character at first with concord grape puree notes, spring flowers and loganberry leading the way, but given time and air more complexity and length comes through. Surprisingly the wood is subtle with just a hint of mocha, cherry cola and cedar, it stays way in the background perfectly framing the layers of blueberry compote, wild plum, raspberry fruit along with sweet tannins, a faint peppery spice, dried currants, violette and kirsch in an opulent full bodied, but vibrant wine. Richard Alfaro’s 2014’s have all been glorious wines and there’s likely much more to come here in his Syrah, it has real potential and looks set for a long life, it’s well balanced coming in at 14% alcohol, it manages to feel ripe and sexy/round, but still bursting with verve and energy, it reminds me of Guigal’s basic Cote-Rotie from the late nineties or early 2000’s. A more silky refined wine came out in 18 hours after opening, so again, I suggest putting a few bottles away, best from 2019 to 2024, in the meantime do not miss Alfaro’s awesome estate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, as well as his thrilling Albarino and Gruner Veltliner!
($35 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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