2009 Hampton Vineyard Syrah
Syrah •Hampton Vineyard
California: Santa Barbara County: Santa Ynez Valley
We love, love, love this very impressive 2009 Epiphany Cellars Hampton Vineyard Syrah. As evidenced by this extraordinary Syrah, Blair Fox has really come into his own as a winemaker.
Epiphany Cellars has long-captivated our attention, and always, their Syrahs are top-shelf. Santa Barbara Syrah can be rather hit-or-miss, but today’s wine was really a smash hit with our tasting panel.
This big, delicious, balanced Syrah is made from the famous Hampton Vineyard, the winery’s finest source for multi award-winning Syrah. This wine is complex and deep, but also very approachable and, dare we say, even fun. It is also a great food wine, with plenty of acidity to balance its own dark character and provide a pleasing cleanse to the palate, between bites of food.
Drink now, or hold for the next decade. Just don’t miss out!
Intensely ruby red, with lighter-colored edging. At the core of the wine, the wine remains clear but darkens, slightly. When swirled, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind slow-moving legs and a viscous quality that attest to the depth of its flavors and feel.
Pronounced smoked meats, black cherry, leather and dark tobacco leap from the glass. These warm aromas are complimented by jammy dark plum and blackberry compote, darkly toasted oak and a hint of nutty chocolate.
Concentrated and bold with big fruit flavors of dark mixed berries, plum and black cherry. A backbone of darkly toasted oak ushers in dried leather, dark cocoa, dark cured meats and black pepper, with hints of the mildest tobacco and subtle hint of smoked bacon.
Extra long and absolutely loaded with dark, ripe fruit and savory characteristics that take a very long time to fade. As flavors fadem the palate is left with softly dry, chewy coating of dried red and black fruit, cured dark meats, spice, pepper and dark cocoa.
What the Winery Says
Varietal 100% Syrah
Appellation Santa Barbara County Vineyard Designation 100 % Hampton Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley
Aging 23 months in 50% New French oak
Tasting Notes Opaque purple in color. Over the years, we have found that Hampton grapes consistently have a distinctive peppery intensity that makes a complex Syrah exploding with flavor. We were pleased once again to find our 2009 Hampton Syrah showcasing high acidity, robust tannins, and the wonderful pepper and spice flavors that we have come to love in this wine. On the nose, there are aromas of black cherry, smoked meat, black berry, black pepper, vanilla and nutmeg. With a brisk acidity and bold finish, your palate will be pleased to discovery flavors of black berry, mulberry, smoked meat, dark chocolate, black cherry, vanilla and a touch of oak. With a nice combination of fruit, smoke and pepper, this full-bodied Syrah will settle nicely with age and continue to delight all aspects of your senses from the rich aromas all the way to the nice long, lingering finish.
Gold Medal - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
The Hampton Syrah grapes are typically the first Syrah grapes that we pick during harvest. In 2009, we brought these grapes in during the first week of September. Since the Hampton Vineyard is one of the more eastern vineyards in our valley, the grapes tend to ripen at a quicker pace allowing us to pick them slightly early. As always, delicate care is taken when harvesting the grapes from this small 10-acre elite vineyard. And because Dale Hampton knows a thing or two about growing grapes, we are never surprised to find that the Syrah from his vineyard has a wonderfully rich, concentrated flavor.
We hand picked, cluster sorted and destemmed the grapes into a 5 ton open top fermentor where hand puchdowns were performed 2-3 times per day. The juice spent 12 days on skins prior to being pressed into a combination of French (50% new French) and American oak barrels where it was left to age for 23 months. The 2009 Hampton Syrah will age nicely over the next 15 years. Production
About the Winery
Epiphany finds its identity and passion in the production of esoteric Rhone-based varietals and blends from some of the finest vineyard designates in California. Founded by Eli Parker at the turn of the last century, Epiphany was at first intended as a creative outlet for the then adventurous winemaking son of Fess Parker. As the years progressed, Eli assumed the role of Brand Visionary, paving the way for winemaker Blair Fox to assume the enological reins at the winery.
The Epiphany brand is an integral part/component to the Fess Parker Family of Wines portfolio. The Epiphany wine program addresses the needs of the adventurous wine lover, eager to discover new offerings and to explore Rhone-varietals in a bold and daring fashion.
Winemaker Blair Fox
Winemaker Blair Fox draws his inspiration from many Old World producers and from the experiences he had as a winemaker during a stint in Australia’s Barossa Valley as well as Haselgrove Winery – a custom-crush winery in the McLaren Vale. Their work inspires him as he continues to build a portfolio of wines that remain firmly planted in Old and New World styles of wine growing and winemaking.
Graduating from UC Davis in 1999 with a combined degree in Viticulture and Enology, Blair Fox gained winemaking experience at Sunstone Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley as well as Australia. He also traveled through France’s Rhône Valley before returning to his hometown of Santa Barbara.
At that point he joined Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard as Associate Winemaker, overseeing the Rhône varietal wines, having previously consulted in the vineyard for the winery’s 2002 harvest. Fox continues the stylistic direction set by Eli Parker when capturing the terroir of the vineyards. He aims to continue raising the bar for the award-winning Fess Parker wines.