2017 Waxwing, Syrah, Coastview Vineyard, Monterey County.
Scott Sisemore’s Waxwing Wine Cellars continues to impress and turn out small production hand crafted wines, like this Coastview Syrah, at very fair prices and showcase some interesting and unique vineyard sites and terroirs. Sisemore, who has had jobs at
Ravenswood Winery and Rosenblum Cellars, along with other notable California producers, as well as making wine abroad in both India and Chile. Most recently, before founding Waxwing in 2006, Scott served as associate winemaker at Pelligrini Family Vineyards, and with more than 20 years experience in the industry has had a chance to work with many top notch vineyards giving him some useful insight on which regions and varietals he wants to focus on, which leans heavily on cool climate site with Pinot and Syrah being his favorites. Coastview Vineyard in Monterey County is a nice elevated sire set on diatomaceous soils and is locally renowned for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a selection of Rhone grapes with Syrah, some Grenache and Mourvèdre doing really well there, with some outstanding wines coming off this vineyard, like those from Big Basin, and now Waxwing with this tasty Syrah.
The profile on the 2017 Waxwing Coastview Syrah is in between Northern and hillside Southern Rhone sites like Vinsobres, which has that warm Mediterranean ripe density, while still having a Saint-Joseph aromatic quality, making this wine sing in the glass with crushed red berries, incense floral notes, earthy tones and loads of spice. Scott likes to pick the grapes at modest brix levels, ferment with little or no additions and age in broken-in barrels from a variety of French coopers, to make wines that show a transparent set of layers with this one showing blackberry, plum, blueberry and racy cherry fruits, a hint of crushed rock, camphor, dried violets, minty herb and a lingering touch of creme de cassis, cedar and peppery sage. There is still some youthful tannin and mouth watering acidity keeping things edgy and vibrant, best to decant and have with robust food choices, this is stylish effort that should gain greatly with another year or two in bottle. Also, keep an eye out for his Tondre Grapefield Riesling and especially the Dierberg Vineyard Syrah, which is absolutely outstanding as well.
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive