2014 Happy Canyon Star Lane Vineyard Syrah $40
This Syrah reveals itself as a warmer climate wine with a bit of reduction that blew off and evolved into a milk-chocolatey nose and aromas of stewed fruits and pie. It’s a big wine that gives a punch of alcohol on the finish. This is the type of Syrah meant for steak or bbq. 89 pts.
2014 Santa Maria Valley Dierberg Vineyard Syrah $65
As easy as it was to discern that the Happy Canyon was a warm climate Syrah it’s equally easy to tell that the Dierberg is firmly planted in the cool-climate camp. There are aromas of meat and fresh fruit and also a hint of reduction. It’s an elegant and fresh version of Syrah and it’s just my style. 94 pts.
After a storied stint at Donelan Wines in Sonoma, winemaker Tyler Thomas started at Dierberg Vineyards in 2013. He had become a bit of a Syrah-star in Sonoma and has since remade himself with mostly Pinot, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux varieties in Santa Barbara. But luckily for us Syrah-heads, both the estate vineyard at Dierberg and the Star Lane vineyard are planted with small amounts of Syrah. Just as at Donelan, with all its distinct Syrah vineyards, there’s a lot of contrast between these two Syrahs. The Happy Canyon is the more warm-climate style and, due to the coastal influence, the Dierberg estate more cool-climate.
The Happy Canyon Syrah was aged in barrel for 20 months with 10% New French Oak. The Dierberg Syrah is aged for 20 months with no new oak as Tyler feels that cool-climate Syrah and new oak are not a good match. This Syrah also has 5% Viognier added and some stem inclusion.
These wines were provided as samples for the purposes of review.