2006 Suisun Valley Syrah
Syrah •King Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
Today’s wine is a truly exemplary Syrah, earning it this special award. We always bring you wines of the highest quality, but when one really shies, we issue a special alert.
The wine drinks way above its price class, earning it this QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert. We issue these when we show a wine that delivers a fantastic value.
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Mission Codename: Joy Multiplied
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Olabisi Wine Cellars, in the town of Napa, and procure their smash hit 2006 Syrah, a wine that has garnered wide attention as a distinctive and delicious wine. Secure an ample allotment for our Syrah-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Olabisi Wine Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Suisun Valley Syrah, King Vineyard
Winemaker: Ted Osborne
Backgrounder: Our Operatives love a great Syrah, and they snap them up in record numbers, bucking the industry trends which suggest that Syrah sales are slightly declining. Our Operatives has proven that they are ahead of the curve in so many ways, especially when it comes to purchasing a great wine. Today, Agent Red visits with Olabisi, whose 2006 King Vineyard Syrah is a delicious and sassy interpretation of the noble varietal.
_Varietal Backgrounder_: The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s delightful Syrah is a big and bold delight with richly dark flavors, deep aromatics and a plush mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Intriguing and elusive, it was difficult to peg the exact color of this wine! Gazed upon straight on, the wine shows as almost black, but with a glinting ring of bright ruby encircling the surface. Spin the wine and it shows dark crimson hues. Held up to the light, the wine takes on a candy apple appearance. When the wine settles, dark, wine-stained tears move very slowly downward.
Smell – Lush and bold this deeply fragrant wine leads with dark cherry, blackberry and a Bing cherry reduction. These mingle with rich dried meats, dried dark leaves, dark chocolate, briney black olives and, finally, a dark herbal component that is detected at the very back of the nose.
Feel – Soft and round at the entry, this wine becomes quickly grippy as plush tannins dig in at the mid-palate, spreading a mineral-rich dryness as it moves outward to the lips and cheeks.
Taste – Dark fruit and earthen flavors in beautiful balance. The wine delivers bold blackberry, black plum, black cherry, smoky Bing cherry, earthy dark minerals and cognac soaked raisins. These are followed by more subtle flavors of cocoa dust, European salt licorice and a hint of blanched mixed holiday nuts.
Finish – Ultra ultra (yes, two ultras!) long, with black fruit that seems to last forever. Eventually, dark fruit yields to earthy minerals and dusty earth.
Conclusion – Holy Syrah! This is one bold, delicious, big, fantastic wine that all of us here at Wine Spies HQ recommend wholeheartedly. Not as spicy as its Napa or Sonoma brethren, this wine from the Suisun Valley delivers all of the flavor of its counterparts – and then some. Beautifully balanced, with dark fruit dancing with earthen characteristics in even proportion, this wine had us sniffing and sipping for a very long time. We found that it improved with decanting, so be sure to give this wine at least thirty minutes to breath. Pair with a wide array of bold foods – or a giant grilled steak!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Ted Osborne
WINE EDUCATION: BA in English Lit…And then on-the-job training in Napa and around the world
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cellar Rat at Cakebread, Associate Winemaker at Storybook Mountain, Winemaker at Piña, Winemaker for Phifer Pavitt Winery, and Winemaker for Blue Hall Vineyard
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Find an outstanding vineyard with unique and untapped potential. Pick at perfect ripeness. Ferment on wild yeast, wild malolactic. Barrel down and try to leave it to its own devices at every opportunity.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”The only things that matter are flavor and aroma. All else is speculation and blindness.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2000 Olabisi Cabernet Sauvignon, (Rutherford November, 2002)
AGENT RED: Greetings, Ted. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Syrah today. This is one fantastic wine! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
TED OSBORNE: Glad you love it, Agent Red!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TED: Growing up Irish Catholic. Beyond that, there was one night when my uncle brought over a bottle of ’69 Haut Brion for the family dinner. I was 18, we were eating barbecue tri-tip and drinking this beautiful wine. Everyone at the table was apportioned less than half a glass and I savored it. We all did.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TED: Wines from the Rhone region of France, and Ehren Jordan
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TED: I make my wines for the expression of the vineyard and for the people who want to experience what that is.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
TED: This wine is about a dry-farmed vineyard grown by Roger King. It’s about the trusting working relationship Roger and I have developed over the years. To pick at perfect ripeness requires the commitment and advocacy of the grower. This wine could not have been made without that. For style, what’s interesting about this particular wine is that I’m pretty sure you can taste influences from most of the regions where I’ve made wine—Australia, Napa, and France.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TED: Hamburger, wild mushroom pasta, spicy ethnic foods, and any grilled meats, from chicken to pork to lamb.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Suisun Valley so special?
TED: Growers like Roger King who use more art than science, more passion than business acumen, and who live with their vines, experiencing each day alongside their beloved vineyards.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TED: I spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over not interfering with the wines in the barrel. It’s surprising how much effort it takes to leave things be.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
TED: My ultimate customer is one who eventually trusts me to bring them creative and rewarding wines vintage after vintage. Trust is required because my goal is not to make the same wine I made last year. My goal is to make the best wine for a particular vineyard in a particular vintage. To succeed at that, one must let the vineyard take the lead and craft the wine around flavor of the fruit on the day it was picked.
Oh, and give at least a couple bottle some cellar time. These wines are made for now as well as the long haul.
Oh, and then make sure to enjoy the evolution of the wine in the glass. The complexity is best experienced over time.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TED: Please drop by our tasting room for a visit the next time you’re in Napa. We’d love to meet you and share a glass or two of wine.
RED: I’ll be sure to pop in, again. I really enjoy my time in your tasting room! Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the King Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Wine Spectator
About This Wine:
Ultra complex, fleshy and refined, with aromas of fresh cinnamon, boysenberry, cocoa, sage, hot asphalt, cured black olives, white pepper, vanilla, and spicy roasted meats. A fantastically integrated palate of red fruit, black fruit, tar, fresh herbs, sea salt. and sultry tannins, all harmonizing their various frequencies and dissolving into a penetrating impression of cool, tangy. ultra ripe stone fruits. Drink now through 2020.
About The Winery:
Olabisi is a boutique Napa winery focused on creating limited quantities of unique and flavorful wines from rare and exquisite California vineyards. These are vineyard designate wines, fermented naturally with wild yeast and minimal intervention. Our current offerings include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Chardonnay. The wines are available at select restaurants and through our tasting room in Napa, California.
VINEYARD: Dry farmed, Durrell clone, 12th leaf
GROWER: Roger King, lives it, loves it. An unusually talented farmer.
HARVEST: Picked on cool morning in early October
FERMENTATION: Wild yeast, open top fermenter, punched down
ELEVAGE: 11 months in barrel, 25% new French Oak ALCOHOL: 15.8%