2020 Waylan Wine Co., Red Wine, Peake Ranch Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.
Finishing the year with something completely new, the Waylan Wine Co., from the Los Olivos area of Santa Barbara County, was recommended to me and I can report the first wine I’ve tried from them is absolutely delicious, sourced from the highly regarded Peake Ranch in the Sta. Rita Hills and made from a blend of Syrah and Grenache, it is fabulous fresh and brilliantly detailed with the Ganache’s personality really shining through at this stage with loads of red fruits, floral tones and snappy spices. This magenta/ruby red Peake Ranch wine from Waylan is full of youthful energy, dry extract and brightness with juicy red fruits leading the way on the medium to full palate that feels nicely lean with the natural acidity proving excellent lift here. The mouth flows seamlessly with dark cherry, plum, pomegranate and tangy red currant fruits along with lavender, pepper, peony, very subtle wood framing and a fine delicate earthiness that instead of taking away from the pleasure of the fruit, enhances it, this is a lovely Rhone effort that keeps impressing with every sip and gains textural joy with air, consider me a fan now, I can’t wait to try more of these Waylan wines! Peake Ranch has plantings that includes seven different clones of Pinot Noir, three clones of Chardonnay and two each of Syrah and Grenache, which are in this wine. The vines are all along a sloping hillside that covers most of the ranch, exposing the vines to the Pacific Ocean, making for a long hang time concentration and vibrant acidity that delivers exceptional balance.

The 2020 Peake Ranch Red, which I understand usually includes Mourvedre, was made with an undisclosed percentage of Syrah and Grenache with the Waylan guys saying that this wine is (all) about the place, not the specific grapes, they used and believe the terroir is the most important factor and its distinction sets this wine apart, which I can attest to. You will not be disappointed, Waylan continues, in this vintage, of which only a few barrels were made, again details of winemaking are a touch secret, though I’d imagine that there was a bit of whole cluster employed and that the grapes came in ripe, but with lower natural sugars with the final alcohol being about 13%, which again is a reflection of the cool climate site. Located on the eastern end of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, the Peake Ranch has 50 acres of vines set on sandy soils and enjoys a breezy cool marine influence. Waylan, the name comes from blending of the two winemaker brothers’ middle names, produces small lot hand made wines from selected vineyard sites. Brad and Greg Saarloos founded their label back in 2015 and do quite a collection of wines, from solo varietal Grenache, Syrah, Gamay, Cinsault and Cab offerings to interesting blends, including this one, plus their own Passetoutgrain Pinot Noir and Gamay cuvée, along with a interesting set of whites and a skin contact Gris. So there’s a whole lot to explore here and I’ve thinking I will have to visit the Waylan tasting room at 2963 Grand Ave in downtown beautiful and rustic Los Olivos. Thanks to my colleague James Schultze for sharing this bottle with me, it was sensational and made for a cool discovery indeed.
($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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