2016 Dierberg Santa Maria Valley
Winemaker Scott Sisemore ventured farther south to bring in this fruit from a premium Santa Maria Valley Syrah vineyard. There’s under ripe blackberry here and ripe strawberry, with an undercurrent of minerality. There’s a bit of meat and mushroom there too. Built to age with great structure, acid mid palate and grippy tannins, this ain’t no jammy Syrah and it’s delicious. There’s a pleasing grip and structure here that’s frankly often hard to find in a lot of California Syrah. I would put this up with some of the best Syrahs I’ve had from CA. 97 pts.
2016 Lester Family Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah
At 14.3% ABV riper than I’m used to from the Lester Family and that makes it a bit more smooth and easy drinking than previous ones. It has less of the green peppercorn I’ve come to associate with the vineyard and more red and black fruit. 94 pts
2015 Syrah Petaluma Gap Flocchini Vineyard
Here’s that Flocchini signature feral aroma mixed with blackberries and lots of earthy gravel. The word is that a lot of these grapes are getting grafted over to Pinot and Chardonnay with just a little Syrah left. I don’t know very many wineries making Syrah from this vineyard and frankly Waxwing is the best last chance they have. So, if you like restrained European Syrah and you want Syrah to continue at this vineyard seek it out. 94 pts.
2016 Flocchini Sans Soufre
A surprising entry from Waxwing and a bit of an experiment on the part of winemaker Scott Sisemore. He says, “The wine tasted fresh and clean (not oxidized ) at every tasting so decided to go ahead and bottle without an addition. Maybe wines would not allow for this as they’d start to taste tired or oxidized and would need to be “cleaned up” with an SO2 add. The Flocchini never got to that point so I was confident I could get it into bottle without an add.”
This wine accentuates the feral side of Flocchini with more barnyard aromas but it isn’t anything crazy. If anything, the wine tastes more European than the 2015. On the palate it’s balanced, with that bit of that barnyard coming through at the end. There’s a bit of off-putting aspect to the finish but in general this is a very good “natural” Syrah. 90 pts.