2022 Big Sur Vineyards, Big Sur Red, Limited Release, Central Coast, California.
The new Limited Release 2022 Big Sur Vineyards Big Sur Red is one of the tastiest of the Big Sur Vineyards wines, though certainly different than past make ups of this wine with a darker sense. Charm provided by a lower alcohol freshness and a polished silky body, showing off boysenberry, black raspberry, tart blueberry and kirsch fruits along with roasted herbs, sage, pepper, anise, cedar and coco powder notes. Richer than the 12.8% natural alcohol would suggest there is plenty of joy in the glass with aromas of crushed violets, berry coulis and loamy earth, you can see the Syrah and petite Sirah dominating the profile and the savory or umami background re-enforces that impression, making for a very food friendly wine, great for the Fall chill in the air. Big Sur’s Lenora Carey, who was an award winning documentary film maker, fell in love with Rhone wines while on a project and filming in the South of France, and she was hooked, which eventually led her to plant a vineyard featuring some of her favorite vines for this passion project, which has seen some tragic moments, like when the 2016 Soberanes Fire took out her vineyard and her home. Coming back from that and with the help of the wine community Lenora has picked herself up and put out some cool stuff, from her Grenache Blanc based Big Sur White, solo Viognier and Syrah bottlings to this flagship wine, as well as coastal cool climate Pinot and Chard.

Big Sur Vineyards, founded in 2013, is celebrating ten years of making Rhone inspired wines on the central coast with a tiny estate vineyard overlooking the Big Sur coast and purchasing grapes from mainly small family sustainable vineyards, owner Lenora Carey has put together a tight collection of offerings along with some intriguing collaborations. This Rhone blend, the Big Sur Red, is Carey’s signature effort, again put together by winemaker Ryan Kobza, who is the production manager at the I. Brand and Family Winery and who also does a collection of rarities under his own Kobza Wines label, with grapes grown in the Monterey County and San Benito County on a variety of soils and terroirs. This 2022 version was completely unique in make up, instead of the Grenache leading the way, Kobza went with primary Syrah and Petite Sirah with the addition of small parts of Mourvedre and Grenache, all of which was mostly de-stemmed and fermented completely separate and blended just before bottling, all to Lenora’s taste. Lenora, who designs all her labels, has a serious devotion to Grenache and was hoping to be able to find more to put into this blend, but the vintage ended up favoring the Syrah and Petite Sirah, which has always kind of been this wine’s secret sauce, hence the darker and more gripping sensibilities here in the 2022, but her fans will love this limited release version and I am 100% certain that for 2023 she will get her Grenache on, vintage permitting. Especially after this wine opens up allowing for its wings to spread, you’ll wish there was more available, and with grilled meats and or wild mushroom dishes things just get even better.
($46 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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