2019 The Paring, Syrah, Santa Ynez Valley.
There’s a lot of wine here for the money, with The Paring 2019 Syrah showing tons of northern Rhone character and deep fruit density, making for a wine that begs for hearty foods and offers outstanding purity, richness and structure for money with an intense inky dark color in the glass and a complex array of flavors on the full bodied palate from boysenberry to almost feral gamey and savory notes. Gripping and full in the mouth, I was impressed with this vintage’s range and length, while powerful, the tannins feel sweet and opulent, a nod to the year and California’s ripeness, but still without heat or an alcohol presence getting in the way. There’s a rotation of blueberry, plum and black currant fruits along with a hint of bacon, tar, licorice and sage to contrast, as well as a good dose of violets, mocha, sandalwood and lingering kirsch too. Seriously, there’s not much to fault here and this wine, especially for the money is excellent stuff that you can almost guilt free enjoy with your Tuesday night pizza and or just enjoy with a burger, though capable of partnering up with more haute cuisine. Here is a tasty Syrah, with a pedigree (see below) that delivers an exceptional performance and looks to have a good shelf life, it should provide joyous drinking pleasure for another three to five years with ease, and it makes for a very savvy buy for BBQs and parties, as well as a good bargain gift for your Syrah enthusiast friends. Most Syrah at this price are rather bland or less edgy in style, so I was quite surprised by the Intensity found here in The Paring Syrah and love the natural thrill it shows.

Made by the same team that produces Jonata and the Hilt Estate wines with Matt Dees, the hugely talented winemaker here, overseeing things here, with the Paring label delivering the company’s value focused wines, including a collection of Pinot Noir, a Bordeaux Cab blend, a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, this Syrah and even a Rosé. Dees, with a degree in Soil Science from the University of Vermont and vintages at Staglin in Napa and a stint at Craggy Range in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand has become a star in the Santa Barbara area, showing a real gift with the cool climate grapes as well as Bordeaux varietals grown in the warmer Happy Canyon area in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Paring Syrah was Fermented with partial whole cluster and saw a good maceration, where the cap was kept wet with great attention to extract loads of color, depth of flavor and a savory crunch, before being pressed to barrel, where it was aged, 100% in French oak, with 35% new and 65% neutral barrels for 22 months, with this vintage seeing high quality cooperage, including Marcel Cadet, Ermitage and Remond. The final blend, which was a special selection of lots that may not have gone into the much more expensive Jonata offerings, but still way over deliver for this price point, and to capture every nuance, the Syrah was bottled unfined and unfiltered, with about 680 cases in total being produced, making it a superb value and it is available for Syrah lovers to track down. I have admired the recent releases I’ve tried from the upper end The Hilt, especially the 2018 vintage Chardonnay and Pinot, all of which, along with this one, I highly recommend.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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