Two Syrahs from Dierberg Winery in Santa Barbara County

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.

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