2021 Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery, Syrah, Estate Grown, Carmel Valley AVA, Monterey County.
The wines here at Holman Ranch have really become compelling, especially with their 2018 and 2019 offerings, as well as the brand new release of Syrah, which is from the 2021 vintage, which is looking fantastic here already with classic Northern Rhone character showing through, much in the style of a fine aromatic and dark fruited Saint-Joseph. This wine, made by Greg and Chris Vita, from 100% estate grown grapes and partial whole bunches and stems soars in the glass with crushed violets, black plum and earthy spices leading the way on the medium bodied and supple palate that reveals blackberry, blueberry, the mentioned plum and kirsch as well as peppercorns, mocha, anise, black olive and tarry camphor notes. With a delicate savory crunch, meatiness and hints of porcini there is plenty of complexity to go with the ripe fruit personality and at just about 14% natural alcohol the Holman Syrah is nicely balanced and has elegant tannin structure, making it a lovely wine with food, impressive stuff. The collection here, which has really elevated in quality, is mainly available only to members and walk ins to the tasting room, but seriously worth checking out, if you get the chance.

As noted recently in my latest reviews of their Pinot Noir, The Holman Ranch Winery makes a very focused a range of wines, mainly Pinot Noirs, though including this very limited Estate Syrah, under the guidance of the father and son winemaking team Greg and Cris Vita, which demonstrate the unique characteristics of this hillside property in Carmel Valley, including its rocky soils and coastal climate. The root-stock(s) and the mix of California heritage and Dijon clones for the Pinots, and the combination of 471 and 174 clones for the Syrah, are carefully selected to make the most expressive and terroir distinct wines, with the Pinots seeing the full range of seven clones, including Calera, Pommard, 828, 667, 777, 115 and Swan. The Ranch employs organic and sustainable farming practices, avoiding the use of any pesticides or herbicides, to preserve the environment and nature of the site and encourage small yields to enhance richness and depth here. The Holman Ranch Pinots, and their Syrah, sees stainless steel maceration and fermentation, using 30% whole cluster, with carefully managed temperature control and extraction before being gently pressed, in this case, to well used, almost completely neutral, French oak 228L barriques to age, maturing for 11 months before bottling. I am thrilled with the lineup here, from the no skin contact Brut Rosé bubbly to this opulent, but focused Syrah, plus the prior mentioned Pinots, there’s a lot to admire here and it is exciting to see Carmel Valley wines taking it to the next level.
($62 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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