2012 Lucia by Pisoni, Syrah, Garys’ Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The Lucia wines have touched a next level (of quality) with the 2012 vintage, and I think they are lead by the glorious and top notch Syrah offerings, crafted by Jeff Pisoni. As a longtime admirer of the Lucia wines, it was nice to sample the latest Syrah for my own historical perspective, as I’ve had every vintage of these wines, being a local to the region. It is also my own personal belief, as great as the Pinot Noir wines are from the Santa Lucia Highlands, and nice as the Chardonnay can be, it is Syrah that may just perform the best year after year here, especially since 2004 when the vines got past a certain age, those 2004 wines from Garys’, Rosella’s and Pisoni Vineyards were revolutionary and since then they have been marvelous and on par with the Pinots. Now Lucia, the Pisoni family has Soberanes Vineyard as well with the Alban Clone, and that is taking Syrah here to the next level, though to be fair this 2012 Garys’ Syrah by Jeff Pisoni is right up there, it is interesting that finally people are starting to see the amazing potential here for Syrah, it is not just a novelty, these are some of the best wines made in California, period. There are many people to thank for this, first and foremost Gary Pisoni, and his partner Gary Franscioni, and then you have longtime wineries that have championed Syrah from their grapes, Miura, Roar (Franscioni), Novy by Siduri’s Adam Lee, plus there are many new generation winemakers getting Syrah from here and that will be on the market soon, be sure to look for Sandlands. Lucia’s trio of Syrah wines, Soberanes, Pisoni Estate-Susan’s Hill and this Garys’ Vineyard are all masterpieces and it certainly would be hard to pick a favorite, and while I might give the edge to Soberanes for purely personal preferences, all are worthy of searching out, and showcase the growing talent of Jeff Pisoni the winemaker. Recently I matched the Lucia Garys’ Syrah against the Jean-Louis Chave Estate Saint-Joseph (100% Syrah from the Northern Rhone) and while the Chave might have edged it out slightly in elegance, overall the wines were most similar than they were dis-similar and I would have pegged the same overall rating score, this without question shows that California can and does compare with the world’s best. These Lucia Syrah wines from 2012 are on my short list for red wines of the year, and I highly recommend them for their class, intensity and pleasure. The 2012 Lucia Garys’ Syrah feels cool climate with crushed violets, burnt embers, cracked pepper, briar, dusty chalky/stones and layers of black and blue fruits, leading with blueberry, boysenberry, mulberry and plum along with creme de cassis, anise, wild herbs and bacon fat. There is some smooth toasty oak notes that add texture, without being invasive or overly overt, as well as a hint of minerality, earthy/truffle notes, vanilla and cinnamon stick. There is a density and fullness that marks it as Californian, but that is not a negative nor at about 14% is it hot or heady, and it does have lively acidity and lift to balance the wine as a whole, this is wonderful Syrah and absolutely world class, with a decedent lengthy finish, drink from 2015 to 2020.
($49.95 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com