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Two 2009 Syrahs From Tensley Wines

We have drunk several different Tensley wines from the 2006 and 2007 vintages.  The most recent was the 2007 Colson Canyon Syrah which I rather enjoyed and thought showed strong promise for development after several more years of age.  These 2009 selections seem very ripe and concentrated.  The base Syrah is quite drinkable and well priced.  The Colson Canyon Syrah is so powerful, in terms of flavor and not alcohol level, that it was hard to drink more than one glass per day.  That bugs me because I want to desire a wine.  I liked the 2007 so I will revisit the 2009 vintage in a couple of years to see what shakes out.  These wines are distributed by Bacchus Importers Ltd and are also available at MacArthur’s.  The base Santa Barbara County Syrah is available in the DC area for $18 and the Colson Canyon for $35. I would recommend buying the base Syrah as an introduction to Tensley Wines.  I am on the fence with the Colson Canyon.

2009 Tensley Wines, Syrah, Santa Barbara County
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced with 40% of the fruit sourced from Camp4, 40% Colson Canyon, and 20% Tierra Alta vineyards.  The nose is expressive with ample amounts of both sweet and ripe cherry and plum aromas.  In the mouth the full flavors also reveal some tart berries, barrel notes, and hints of perfume.  This is an assertive wine is attractively priced and if I were nitpicking, it is light on acidity.

2009 Tensley Wines, Syrah, Colson Canyon Vineyard, Santa Barbara County
This wine was aged in predominantly neutral oak.  This shows even more sweet and ripe fruit on the nose but with more complexity.  In the mouth the fruit has a powdery texture, shows interesting minerals, and gobs of concentrated flavors.  There are plum flavors and notes of sour red fruits not found in the base Syrah.  This is undeniably and unabashedly a modern Californian wine.  This barely budged after being open for two days and that is without using any Private Preserve.  I suspect this will develop at a glacial pace so I would stick this in the cellar for a number of years.

New World Syrah and Cabernets at Jace’s House, 18 March 2011

These notes are from a tasting that Lou and I attended at Jace’s House.  My brief notes are below.

The Bubbly and Whites

N.V. Ulysse Collin, Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, Champagne
The light nose was yeasty.  In the mouth there were apple flavors, almost salty, and nice acidity.

1995 Château Pape Clement, Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves
The nose was oxidized.  Flavors of tart apples, clearly past its prime, wood, almost Jura-like, with its persistent oxidized aftertaste.  Seen better days.

1999 Domaine Borgeot, Santenay 1er Cru Clos de la Comme, Santenay 1er Cru
The nose was light and refreshing.  With air there were sweet fruit flavors, crisp acidity that caused the mouth to water, still steely, with almost fine tannins.  A good drink!

The Cabernet Sauvignons

2002 Karl Lawrence, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
This was clearly young, clamped down, sporting primary dark fruits with a dose of tannin. I’d sit on this for a few years.

1997 Heitz Cellar, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trailside Vineyard, Rutherford, Napa Valley
This was my favorite of the first flight. There were ample amounts of ripe fruit with a lovely amount of earthiness and spice. It was big and dense in the mouth without being over done and took on a racy character through the evening.

1991 Beringer Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Private Reserve, Napa Valley
This was my second favorite of the flight. I got a bit of menthol on the nose. It did not have the weight or power of the Heitz but was lovely and plenty of life left.

2000 Bodegas Caro (Barons de Rothschild / Catena) Caro, Mendoza
This was my least favorite of the night. An almost off-putting nose like the inside of a perfumed, old chest of drawers with dense, sweet aromas.

1985 Dunn Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
This was my third favorite of the flight. It had a lovely, garnet color to it. It tilted towards tart, sour red fruits with a bit of greenish on the finish. The fruit was a bit too tart in my mind.

The Syrahs

2007 DuMOL, Syrah, Eddie’s Patch, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
This was my least favorite of the Syrah’s. It had an odd, light nose but in the mouth it was rich, creamy, lovely feel but as a whole it was almost out of control.

2007 Betz Family, Syrah, La Côte Rousse, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley
This was my second favorite. The light nose moved on to structured, blue fruit, and tannins. It showed a young, inky personality that clearly needs more time. I’d sit on this for several years.

2007 Cayuse, Syrah, Cailloux Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley
This was a clear standout with its light, spiced fruits and a creamy, lifted palate. A nice wine and so easy to drink. My favorite of the Syrahs.

2007 Tensley, Syrah, Colson Canyon Vineyard, Santa Barbara County
This surprised me at the end of the night when it finally showed rich, spiced fruit. But the heat at the end was just too distracting. Drink this one cool!

2001 Long Vineyards, Johannisberg Riesling Botrytis, Napa Valley
The wine was a caramel color in the glass.  There was a light+ nose of botrytis, fresh caramel flavors, apples, but not enough acidity.

2006 Josef Lentsch, Trockenbeerenauslese Dankbarkeit, Neusiedlersee, Burgenland
This showed fresh fruit, ethereal, lots of fresh fruit, acidity, and grip with a creamy coating.  Quite nice.