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Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 98 points
The 2013 Syrah IX Estate may turn out to be better. It’s not as complex from a nuanced standpoint as the 2012, but it has possibly greater intensity than its sibling. Its blackberry fruit, charcoal, acacia flowers, grilled meats and beef tartare notes are all beautifully presented in a pure, succulent, opulent style. This is amazing sTuff, and a great example of a singular style of Syrah from Napa Valley. Drink now-2028.
James Suckling 98 points
Amazing aromas of cracked black pepper, smoked meat and blueberries. Blue slate. Full body, iodine, spice, crushed black fruit, and black pepper. Polished and velvety. Glorious. Why wait to drink this? Yet it has a bright future in the bottle.
Wine Spectator 95 points
Deep and powerfully complex, with an enticingly supple texture. Aromas of blueberry, chunky chocolate and smoky herb combine with layered flavors of huckleberry, cracked pepper and licorice, lingering toward big but plush tannins. Drink now through 2028.
From low yielding clonal selections originating in the Cote-Rotie and Hermitage regions of France, the IX Estate Syrah is characterized by the Old World aromatics of the Northern Rhone and a remarkably nuanced bouquet of cured meat, pepper, blackberry, coffee and acacia, graced with a black floral uplift. Its voluptuous texture, savory palate with mouthwatering tannins, and dense black color is truly irresistible, smooth and expressive. Considered “one of the most unique Syrahs being made in California today.”
The 2013 growing season set the stage for an outstanding vintage of wines. With the ideal blend of cool and warm weather at the right time, the season gave us perfectly ripened fruit with purely preserved flavors and inky grape skins. What was perhaps atypical about 2013 was the rainfall pattern, as we were in our second year of a drought. All of our winter rain fell during the months of November, December and a small amount in January. Beyond January, we had no rain, yet the weather as it relates to temperature and fog patterns was absolutely magical. With a classically timed bud break to start the season, then gorgeous warm weather during bloom, the vines set a homogenous and fruitful crop- an ideal setup to the harvest season.
In a sense the 2013 season was "made to order." By mid-September we reached a holding pattern of sunny and mild weather. By that point the berries had reached an unbelievable intensity of flavor, color and delicious tannin. The 2013 vintage was one that tested our courage to pick early rather than our patience to ripen the fruit longer. That same fortitude and self-restraint carried into the winemaking. With fruit so rich in flavor and texture, we found the wines extracted very effortlessly and thus the balance between power and elegance in the 2013 vintage was achieved with shorter macerations in the cellar.