Piedrasassi 2012 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah Sebastiano Vineyard $53, 95 pts

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piedrasassi back

I promised I would come back to these Piedrasassi’s and I think it’s time. These Syrahs are meant to age so it’s advisable to give them a few years in bottle.

The Santa Ynez Syrah from Piedrasassi is made of grapes from the Sebastiano vineyard in the Santa Ynez appellation.

Day 1: Not overly tight on opening, in fact a rather welcoming wine. Aromas of meat and integrated whole cluster mixed with fresh blackberry, soy sauce, and gravel. On the palate it’s a full wine and the tannins aren’t overwhelming. It’s an elegant Syrah and I think four years in bottle put this wine into a great place.

Day 2: More of the meaty aromas come out, it’s all umami, celery, and braised beef now with that gorgeous fruit and happy elegance.  It still has that round mid-palate and finish.

The Sebastiano vineyard is about 15 miles from the coast along the highway 246 corridor between Buellton and Lompoc and mostly (surprise!) is planted with Pinot. It’s these little patches of cool-climate Syrah planted among mostly Pinot vines that really intrigue me.

Piedrassasi’s Melissa Sorongon and Sashi Moorman are excited about Syrah in these spots too. A relatively young site, the Sebastiano vineyard was planted in 2008. 2012 was the first year they began to make it as it’s own vineyard designate. Prior vintages mostly went into their Santa Barbara Syrah blend. Along with Kessler-Haak, Pence, Presidio and now Duvarita, Sebastiano is one of only a few spots where small plots of Syrah are planted among all the Pinot and Chardonnay. They’ve found that the Sebastiano, as the vineyard aged, has developed some very interesting characteristics and they think more vine age can only help the Syrah from this vineyard be even more impressive.  In bottle the wines also develop, what has started out as an austere wine in the last two vintages has developed into something with more softness in bottle, more elegance, and more flavor complexity.

The Sebastiano is about 50% stem inclusion. Aged in neutral oak, and made with minimal additions in the cellar.

I’ll be breaking into their 2012 Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande Syrahs soon, so stay tuned.