This, of course, comes as no surprise, as we have been singing his praises for years - but we're going to pile on the accolades anyway. Even occasional readers will recall the many times Andrew's wines have been gushed over - and recommended - including the most recent post on The Ultimate Endorsement Of A Wine.
To celebrate Andrew's well-deserved recognition, we trotted out a trio of his single vineyard Syrahs to compare notes. What we found was the following:
- Drinking really, really good wine under the guise of academic evaluation is a really, really great way to spend a weekend. You should try it.
- These Syrahs differ from AMV's other red bottlings in that they reflect faithful renditions of this variety - and clarity of terroir - as opposed to creating intrigue through blending.
- The 08 wines are showing better than the 09's largely due the extra year in bottle, not any inherent qualitative difference between the vintages.
(Full disclosure: These wines were all received as press samples.)
08 Terra Bella Vineyard Paso Robles $36
Phenomenal. Sultry, reassuring, and seductive. Inescapably comforting and delicious. Sonofabitch, this wine has a soul that speaks to yours. As close to a 5 star wine as we've ever reviewed. Had this as recently as December and found it still withdrawn and tight, but this wine has come into its own since. Can't imagine it peaking any higher than it is now, but dollars to donuts its current crescendo will likely persist for another 3-4 years before evolving yet again.
09 Watch Hill Vineyard Santa Barbara County $36
Concentrated and intense savory black fruit - even after 5 hours decanted. Given ample breathing time, this monster unwinds with a graciousness that begs to be followed up on with another sip, gulp, and glass. Doesn't have the interesting twists and foibles that makes the Esperance so lovable, but its varietal purity is unmistakable. The resilience and stout character on day two is suggestive of its longevity.
09 Kingsley Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley $34
Rich, dense, super dark blue-green Syrah fruit with highfalutin aromatics. Give this serious, complex wine another year or two in bottle and it'll likely deliver the same joyous drinking as the Terra Bella bottling. On day two it retains a freshness of fruit and structure that, like the Watch Hill, is indicative of the years this has ahead of it, and becomes more accessible and relaxed. Yum yum.