2009 Alban Vineyards, Syrah “Reva” Estate, Edna Valley.
John Alban’s wines are a reflection of his dedication, attention to detail and a devote faith in his mission, showing his passion and style in near perfection, there is no doubt of his respect and the influence he got from his visit to the northern Rhone, a quest that must have been his holy grail moment. His top Syrah wines are very much like Guigal’s famed “La La” Cote Rotie threesome, the La Landone, La Torque and La Mouline, these are all wines of density, richness and intensity, and his latest 2009 Reva Syrah is very much in keeping with this style. While there is a revived search for a lighter and delicate wine in the market place these days, this is certainly not that, and while some would say that critical acclaim for big wines is waning, you cannot deny the pure hedonistic joy wines like this Reva delivers, it is a massive and impressive Syrah tamed by almost 36 months in mostly new French oak and a very Port like feel on the palate, but this wine is not sickly cloying or a simple over the top wine, there is complexity and harmony to be found, plus this wine is a mere baby in evolutional terms with much more to come in the future. The Reva 2009 is packed with flavor and layers from the nose to finish and should last a few decades, the start is filled with that sense of dry Port, with violets, blueberry compote, blackberry and boysenberry fruits with fig pudding, creme de cassis, dark chocolate, baked plum with hints of iodine, melted licorice, prune cake, camphor and cedar notes. This wine is extremely opaque and dark, it is thickly textured and unbelievably mouth filling, there is a faint whiff of spice and lingering sensation of oak sweetness at present, though it is interesting to think how this Syrah will develop, I would suggest a 3 to 5 year wait at this point, though I very much doubt Alban fans would wait too long. I can understand that there would be some skeptical and it is sometimes hard to recommend wines that sell for over a Hundred Dollars, but honestly the truth is wines in this league are not going to be cheap and there are plenty that can afford them and desire them, Alban never has trouble selling out, and in this extraction and pleasure level, there are much higher priced wines, like the Hundred Acre Cabs that go for $300-450 a bottle, Grange from Penfold’s the same and Guigal’s La La’s and Hermitage which trade for close to $500 a bottle, so while the Reva is expensive, for some it is a value… Price is what it is, the demand is there, no point in fretting about it, though it does sting to think this wine not too long ago sold for $45 and was a real steal, but that is life. This is a quality wine made but a great and inspiring talent and someone that put California Syrah in the big league, of that there is no question.
($109-150 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com ($109.95)