I love finding wines like these. An under appreciated variety from a little known region, this 2010 Arroyo Grande Valley Syrah is a delicious wine with outstanding Syrah varietal qualities, and all for under $30. I’ve had some Syrah from Arroyo Grande before at Laetitia Vineyards. They were okay but didn’t really express that cool-climate structure and acidity that I think really good Syrah should have. On my last trip to Laetitia I found that part of the reason for that is that they were blending their grapes with fruit from warmer climes, almost as if they were afraid to let those cool-climate characteristics come forth. Well, here’s a wine that isn’t afraid. It’s got cool-climate character for days and I’m in love.
On the nose there’s a mushroom and olive tapenade quality to Les Galets, mixed with aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries and plums. I know that sounds like a strange combination of aromas but it actually smells delicious. It’s light on the palate but transitions to a pretty tannic finish. I’d like the finish to be a little less tannic but the wine still works and with some age I think it will get even better. There’s a core of sweet, red fruit but without the jammy quality that one finds in many Syrahs from the southern region.
Les Galets grapes are grown less than six miles from the ocean. I think that, and the conviction of the winemaker to let the wine speak for itself, helps to set it apart from much of the Syrah grown along the Central Coast. Picked at 22.5 brix, this is a grape that many winemakers might mix with fruit grown in warmer vineyards to dial back the acidity but Mike Sinor let the vineyard come through in all it’s cool-climate glory. I look forward to trying more wines from Sinor~La Vallee, it’s definitely a region that should garner more attention than it does. Anyone want to finance a new vineyard planting?