Sunday, May 26, 2024

Tensley Colson Canyon Syrah 2020 with BBQ ribs

Tensley Colson Canyon Syrah 2020 with BBQ ribs

One of my favorite days of the year, watching the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, and then the Indianapolis 500, and then over again, we had BBQ ribs. For pairing with BBQ, I pulled from the cellar this big full fruit Syrah - perfect for such an occasion. 

We love this full throttle Syrah. We’ve been acquiring it as part of our wine club allocation since discovering it at the producer’s tasting room, and we pick up whatever few bottles are in stock at the Total Wine big box beverage store in Indy and in Pensacola. And, then, I picked up some more at Winebid auction last winter, which just arrived this week in weather appropriate season shipment from storage. 

I wrote about our discovery of this producer and this label in detail in these pages last year, reiterated and excerpted here. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Tensley Colson Canyon Santa Ynez Mountains Syrah 2020

Tensley Colson Canyon Santa Ynez Mountains Santa Barbara Country Syrah 2020

It was just about two years (now) ago that we discovered and acquired this and several other Tensley Santa Barbara County Wines, that I wrote about here, and replay below, during our Santa Barbara County Wine Experience. This was the standout of that tasting and best represents the style that we love.

We discovered Tensley Santa Barbara County Wines during that Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria ValleyWine Experience while driving the Foxen Canyon wine trail. One of the producer's we visited recommended we check out Tensley Wines, which was near that estate we were visiting. 

We drove by the Tensley vineyards on Alisos Canyon Road, (shown left) which was closed, so we stopped in the Tensley tasting room in downtown Los Olivos.

I was not aware of this brand prior to this trip. It was a top discovery and revelation and may certainly be one of our go-to boutique labels going forward. We joined their wine club to obtain a supply of their labels from those tasted and going forward.  

Colson Canyon Vineyard | Santa Ynez Mountains 

Since joining their wineclub, we have acquired a half dozen labels from this producer, but this single vineyard designated label remains our favorite. Sourced from Colson Canyon Vineyard, high up in the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Los Olivos, it has been providing exceptional Syrah fruit to Joey Tensley since 2000. It is this fruit that helped Tensley become the one of most sought after Syrah's on the coast with consistent high ratings, one vintage flirting with Robert Parker perfection at 99 points.

Tensley released his first vineyard-designate Syrah from Colson Canyon in 2001 and the wine press took notice. That year Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator named two of Tensley’s 2001 Syrah’s to his list of the Top Ten Wines in the World. Robert Parker, Jr. scored all the ‘01’s in the high 90’s, calling them “serious, hand-crafted efforts.”

By 2008, Food and Wine Magazine named the Colson Canyon Syrah “Top Syrah in America Over $20.” Two years later, Robert Parker gave the 2008 Anniversary Series Colson Canyon Syrah 99 points, and Wine Spectator Magazine named the 2008 Colson Canyon Syrah "#17 of its Top 100 Wines in the World". The 2007 Colson Canyon Syrah was ranked #22 the year before. Since then, the string of high scores has been consistent. 

Tensley and his wife Jennifer, purchased the Colson Canyon property about five years ago, ensuring that they would always be able to tap the most distinctive site. 

Perched high up at an elevation of 1,400 feet, the combination of warm days and cool nights produces dense, fruit-forward wines with opulent jamminess. The site covers 115 acres but has only 16 acres of grapes because the elevation and rugged terrain make so much of the site untamable. Tensley believes that only three more acres have the potential to be planted.

Tensley Colson Canyon Vineyard Santa Ynez Mountains Santa Barbara County Syrah 2020

Winemaker Notes: "Everything we farm in house is something very special to us. This site is one of the most unique and special places in the world of wine. High (1400 elevation) in the hills north of the Santa Maria Valley with some of the most iron-laced soils I have seen in Santa Barbara County.'

"This wine always delivers juicy round seamless edges. This is the only wine we add some new French oak, as its weight and power integrates with the oak, adding a bit of toasty buttery complexity. Colson Canyon is such a beautiful example of fruit forward juicy California Syrah. Open it anytime and enjoy its blueberry, cassis and chocolate nuances or leave it 20 years and enjoy its leathery, almondy notes. It does not really matter when you open it, it will deliver."

1925 cases were produced.

This was awarded 94-96 points by Jeb Dunnuck, 96 points by Wine Advocate, 95-97 points by Vinous, and 95 points by Wine Spectator.

Might I consider this the Tensley 'flagship'? This reminded me of a couple other memorable highly rated Syrahs that has been standouts - Kongsgaard Carneros Hudson Vineyard and Penfolds Grange. Both are flawless, seamless, and notable for their smooth, polished, balanced profile. While not to that level of perfection perhaps, this is close and evokes the same experience. This bottle was from the Wine Club allocation we received from that visit. We're anxiously awaiting our fall release shipment that we're told was shipped this week. 

We love this full throttle jammy rich fruit forward style of the 2020 Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah. Notably it has been recognized with four scores of 95 points or more.

We wrote about this wine in January and before that late last fall. Each time I gave it 94 Points.

Consistent with earlier notes - even better with BBQ ! Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, thick concentrated unctuous juicy black and blue fruits with layers of cassis and chocolate nuances with notes of oak, leather and tobacco on a tongue coating lingering finish.

Earlier, last fall I wrote: "Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, thick concentrated unctuous juicy black and blue fruits with layers of cassis and chocolate nuances with notes of oak, leather and tobacco on a tongue coating lingering finish." 

RM 94 Points