2012 Vallin Syrah Sans Soufre
Shockingly Pure and Balanced Cali Syrah
Vallin's San Soufre Syrah is the wine that shocked me the most.
It completely caught me off guard. I'd never tasted a California Syrah with such freshness, such a combination of drinkability and complexity.
Vallin's Syrah Sans Soufre is easily the best New World wine I've tasted in some time.
Of course, Vallin's harmony, sophistication and pure gulpability shouldn't have come as a surprise to me - there are some very sharp palates behind it. Vallin is a joint project between Dustin Wilson of Eleven Madison Park, Eric Railsback and Brian McClintic of Caveau SB and Justin Willett of Tyler.
For fans of the Northern Rhône, Vallin's Syrah Sans Soufre is something to check out. It may be a little more fruit-forward, but the balance, the fineness and the beautiful transparency bring to mind the Cornas of Thierry Allemand.
The Northern Rhône is a very conscious inspiration for the people behind Vallin: Vallin is the name of the street where the famed Côte-Rôtie producer Domaine Jamet is located.
People who know me have probably heard me talk trash at one point or another about many New World Syrahs. Sadly, all too often, they're too dense and just too much in general. Vallin's Sans Soufre really opened my eyes to the potential of the New World - it offers a level of expressiveness and detail that I thought was unimaginable.
While the great traditional wines of the Northern Rhône are a powerful source of inspiration, the people behind Vallin are obsessed with rendering Syrah grown in Santa Barbara county with the utmost honesty and clarity. Their choice to produce a sans soufre wine speaks both to their pursuit of the purest expression of the grape and their winemaking skill.
And they really hit the mark... There's a beautiful combination of spice, violets, dark fruits and smoky meaty notes backed by a surging acid spine. I keep returning to the balance and that's what really stands out. The overall composition is stunning.
I'm very happy to offer this bottle. It's rare that a wine shocks me and impresses me the way this one has. Quantities are very limited. Still, I felt like I had to share.
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Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
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