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2012 Lillian Syrah

Retail: $87.99


per bottle

94 Pts Josh Raynolds - Vinous Media


750 mL


Closure Type


Syrah / Shiraz








currant, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry


spice box, cedar and dark fruit


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Josh Raynolds - Vinous Media:

"Inky purple. Hugely perfumed black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by suggestions of vanilla, incense and cola. Fleshy, palate-staining cassis and boysenberry flavors gain sweetness and spiciness with air, picking up licorice pastille and violet nuances that gain strength on the back half. Finishes smooth and sweet, with velvety tannins adding shape to a strikingly long, broad, spice-tinged finish.

While Maggie Harrison's consistently outstanding Antica Terra wines from Oregon seem to be attracting more attention these days, her work in California's Central Coast, where she cut her teeth with Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non, deserves at least as much praise. Sourcing fruit from some the region's best vineyards (Stolpman for Roussanne and White Hawk for Syrah, for example), Harrison crafts wines that--no surprise--strongly channel those made by Krankl. And while they aren't cheap, they can actually be found, and they command significantly lower prices than those of her mentor. Like the Sine Qua Non wines these are deeply flavored, concentrated renditions of their varieties, with complex, compelling bouquets and wonderful fruit/tannin harmony. I find them almost shockingly approachable in their youth but have also been convinced by their ability to age. Personally, I would lay them down, but definitely try at least one of them soon after release, for the fireworks."

Product Description:

"During the seventh of Maggie's eight years of training in the cellar at Sine Qua Non, the opportunity presented itself to make wine from a small portion of the top of the White Hawk Vineyard. She bottled 150 cases of 2004 Lillian syrah, her inaugural vintage. Since that time, the project has grown in tiny increments, first by sourcing additional fruit from Stolpman and Bien Nacido Vineyards in 2007, offering her first roussanne and rosé wines in 2013 and then, in 2014, she introduced her first Cabernet Sauvignon from True Vineyard on Howell Mountain.

Bien Nacido Vineyard is a large, historic vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. This valley has the most extended growing season of any California wine region, with bud-break as early as February and harvest as late as mid-December. Bien Nacido is far cooler than Stolpman or White Hawk and it is evident in the wines. This is more Northern Rhone-esque in its flavors; It's all about smoke, olives, lavender and crazy salt-inflected oceanic aromas. The fruit from this vineyard is always the lowest in sugars and the highest in acidity and tannin.

White Hawk Vineyard is a 60-acre vineyard just outside of Los Alamos, CA. Our block at the top of the vineyard is a sand dune; literally pure sand. The site is warmer than Bien Nacido but because of its soils, retains precision and finesse. This is the darkest and most deeply fruited of the three sites. Complexity comes as floral and oceanic related perfumes rather than a more typical bacon fat, and pepper oriented profile.

Stolpman Vineyard is in the Ballard Canyon AVA. It's not very far from White Hawk but the calcareous soils at Stolpman mean the fruit profile is slightly brighter and more tannic. In 2011, Pete Stolpman gave us a call and asked if we'd be interested in working with some roussanne from the vineyard as well. I'd had the opportunity to work with the roussanne from this block back in the 90s and jumped at the chance to make Lillian's first white wine from this extraordinary fruit." -Winery




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