Last week for Temecula Tuesday I wrote an article comparing Sauvignon Blanc from Temecula’s Falkner winery and the Central Coast’s Brander estate. The wine by Brander sourced its fruit from Purisima Vineyard, in Santa Ynez, and today we will be looking at two more wines that both source their fruit from that vineyard as well.
Today I wanted to cover a winery who is often in the spotlight of press and reviews. Qupé, legendary for their Rhone varietals, specifically their Syrah has been on my list of places to visit and review for some time now. My recent trip to the Central Coast included a stop at Qupé that turned out to be exactly what I hoped it would be.
Not only did I get the opportunity to try some spectacular wines by Qupé, featuring an impressive collection of Rhone varietals, but also wines from their sister brands, Verdad and Ethan. Verdad is Qupé’s entrance into the world of Spanish grape varieties and will be covered another day in another post.
Ethan on the other hand, produced by the son of Qupé’s winemaker, happens to also specialize in Rhone varietals, notably a Syrah made from biodynamically farmed, Purisima Vineyard grown fruit. Conveniently Qupé also produces a Syrah sourcing its fruit from the very same vineyard. So today in something of a father / son competition, we will be talking about both of these Syrahs, each made with fruit from the same vineyard and vintage.
Wine #1: Qupé 2007 Santa Ynez Valley “Purisima Mountain Vineyard” Syrah
Our first wine is a blend of two clones of Syrah from the Purisima Vineyard. The majority (67%) is Estrella clone, revered throughout the Central Coast for its firm structure and dark, spicy flavors. The remainder (33%) is Clone 1 Shiraz, sourced from Australian vineyards and known for capturing the dense, jammy flavors so associated with the wines of that region. Aged for 16 months in French oak, this wine was limited to only a 142 case production.
The aroma of this wine is very unique, showing distinct tones of pomegranate, red currants, and something hinging on passion fruit. Violets and black pepper open up with a spin in the glass, and a combination of black stone and red rose petals shows clearly around the edges.
Rich black pepper and spice introduce the palate, with dried orange peel and dusty leather appearing immediately afterward. Dark cherries, raspberries, and a silky, creaminess appear at the mid palate and into the finish. This is a beautifully smooth wine, with refined tannins, impressive complexity, and ripe acidity. Very well made and easily…
Worth Trying. 92 points.
Wine #2: Ethan 2007 Santa Ynez Valley “Purisima Mountain Vineyard” Syrah
Our second wine is 100% Estrella clone Syrah, sourced specifically from a single section of Purisima Mountain Vineyard, Block 6. This vineyard plot, at just short of 1,300 feet elevation is the highest portion of the vineyard. Following fermentation on native yeasts, about one third done in new French oak, this wine spent 30 months aging prior to bottling. Only 75 cases of this wine were produced.
Bright and rich at once, dried cherry, ripe plum, and blackberry show immediately on the nose. A subtle undertone of black tea and black pepper also appears, with some ripe, juicy pomegranate opening up with a spin. Very impressive.
The palate is extremely full, rich, and dense, with luscious flavors of blackberry, black plum, and black cherry making up the core. This wine has perfectly ripe acidity balanced by a pleasant creaminess and perfect oak integration. Incredibly subtle, constantly evolving, and beautifully done, this is a wine…
Worth Trying. 93 points.
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The Grapevine: Who is your favorite California Syrah producer?