2012 Jaffurs, Syrah, Santa Barbara County.
I’ve long been a fan of Craig Jaffurs and especially his Syrah wines, so it was wonderful to taste his wine again on a recent trip to Santa Barbara, he and partner winemaker Dan Green are crafting small lot wines, mostly Rhone varietals, though they do make a fantastic Petite Sirah and a lovely Pinot Noir as well. The 2012 Santa Barbara Syrah came from six selected sites, Tierra Alta, Ballard Canyon, Verna’s, Los Alamos, Thompson, Los Alamos, Larner, Ballard Canyon, Bien Nacido, Santa Maria and Kimsey, Ballard Canyon with some Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Grenache and a touch Viognier in the blend, which all add up to a fascinating and complex Syrah that delivers a full bodied and textured mouth feel and deep flavors. This Jaffurs Santa Barbara County Syrah was de-stemmed, but fermented in whole berry form and aged in used barrels, both French and America wood was used, it’s a dark wine with a brilliant garnet/purple hue in the glass with a cascade of black/blue/red fruits on the palate including damson plum, boysenberry, sweet cherries and racy currant/blueberry as well as hints of perfumy violets, smoky/embers, minty anise and white pepper. The extra few years of age have really allowed the tannins to melt in the mouth with a silken feel, while still holding everything together nicely, the balance for such a bigger style wine is impressive, at 14.5% it’s quite bold and rich with serious presence, it’s a wine that punches way above it’s price and shows expressive length and detail, length and hedonistic charm. Interesting exotic spice, lavender oil, creme de cassis, a trace of tapenade, kirsch and earthy/game make for an intriguing background and the lingering finish on this pretty and stylish Syrah, it was awesome with food, especially my porcini and duck ravioli! Tasted from half bottle, this 2012 Jaffurs Syrah Santa Barbara County should continue to provide heady and polished drinking pleasure for years to come, though it’s in a sublime place even right now, best from 2017 to 2024, it’s a class act in the bottle.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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