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2018 Syrah, Upslope
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
One of the most exciting tasks each year is tasting through all of the reserve red wine barrels and creating Upslope, the best Syrah from the vintage. We look for intensity, balance, aging potential and that mysterious “wow” factor. Licorice, game and black currant aromatics jump out in this highly perfumed wine. Balanced and complex on the palate, showing more dark fruits, white pepper and umami. Inky and textured, with building tannins throughout. This powerful wine should be cellared 5-7 years past the vintage before hitting its stride, and can easily be kept for another 10-15.
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ Points ~ The flagship 2018 Syrah Upslope checks in as 97% Syrah and 3% co-fermented Viognier from a mix of the Larner and Bien Nacido vineyards. It was only one-third destemmed and brought up in 40% new French oak. A dense, backward, inward, yet potential-loaded beauty, its deep purple hue is followed by powerful notes of blackberries, liquid violets, ground pepper, and crushed stone. More brine and olive notes emerge with some coaxing, and it's full-bodied, with a rich, layered, concentrated mid-palate, lots of structure, and a great finish. It's going to play with the top wines in the vintage yet needs at least 2-3 years of bottle age. Maturity after 2023. — Jeb Dunnuck
Wine Enthusiast 94 Points Cellar Selection ~ Loads of lilac and white pepper waft across the nose of this bottling, giving depth and life to the acai and other dark-purple-fruit aromas. There's extreme complexity to the lavender and rosemary blossoms elements of the palate, where a rich boysenberry-sorbet and crushed herb core is framed by sticky tannins. Much more to come here. Drink 2024-2033. — Matt Kettmann
Vinous 94 points ~ The 2018 Syrah Upslope is a gorgeous wine. Bright and also very deep, the Upslope offers quite a bit of depth. All the elements come together so well in the 2018. The blend of fruit from Larner and Bien Nacido works so well here. Drinking window 2023-2033. — Antonio Galloni
2017 Upslope, Santa Barbara County
Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points ~The flagship Syrah from Jaffurs is always a selection made from the single vineyards, and the 2017 Syrah Upslope is 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier that was 55% destemmed and brought up in 50% new French oak. Deep purple-hued, with killer notes of jammy blackberries, ground pepper, bouquet garni, and smoked game, it's flawlessly balanced and medium to full-bodied on the palate, with polished tannins, brilliant purity, and a great, great finish. Pure class, with a Côte Rôtie-like character, this incredible wine should be snatched up by readers and enjoyed over the coming 10-15 years. Hats off to the team at Jaffurs! Maturity 2020-2035. — Jeb Dunnuck
Vinous 95 Points ~ The 2017 Syrah Upslope, a selection of the best lots in the cellar, captures all the Jaffurs signatures. Lavish dark fruit, lavender, licorice, spice and menthol build into a stunning crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures. A touch of whole cluster savoriness and a bit of new French oak add layers of complexity throughout. Drinking window 2022-2032. — Antonio Galloni.
2016 Upslope, Santa Barbara County
Wine Advocate 94+ Points ~ The deep ruby-purple colored 2016 Syrah Upslope contains 2% Viognier and is scented of white pepper and blueberry, olive, salami, bacon fat, baked blackberries and black cherries with blue fruit preserves and lovely floral accents. Full-bodied, luscious and savory in the mouth, it has firm, chewy tannins and good freshness to counter, finishing long. This is a beast and is still showing some new oak, but it has the fruit to soak it up. So, give this plenty more time in bottle. Drink date 2022-2040. — Erin Brooks
Vinous 95 Points ~ The 2016 Syrah Upslope is dense, powerful and super-concentrated, not to mention incredibly delicious. This six-barrel blend from Bien Nacido, Larner and Kimsey has so much to offer. Readers should expect a heady, sumptuous style. Even with all of its intensity and muscle, the 2016 remains beautifully proportioned and balanced. Drink 2021-2031. — Antonio Galloni
Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points ~ The flagship of the estate is the 2016 Syrah Upslope, which checks in as 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier from a mix of Bien Nacido, Larner, and Kimsey Vineyards. Fermented with 70% stems and aged 22 months in 50% new French oak, it offers a brilliant bouquet of spiced plums, blackberries, salted meat, tapenade, and peppery herbs. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, with building tannins, it's another flawlessly balanced, elegant, layered Syrah that stays focused and tight on the palate, yet still offers another dimension compared to the other single vineyard releases. Do your best to hide bottles for 3-4 years and it's going to cruise over the following decade. Maturity 2022-2032. — Jeb Dunnuck