98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “In the late summer, team Stolpman pull every leaf away from the fruit to allow for full sun penetration. A month prior to harvest, when the sun exposed side of each cluster tans, but the inside remains green, every grape cluster is gently hand rotated 180 degrees to facilitate an even suntan. The focus, determination and attention to detail provides one of the best new world Roussannes, in my opinion. Spiced pear, apple, buttered citrus, tangerine skin, orange blossom and honey unfold majestically from the glass. There’s theatre, with golden hues whilst the viscous intensity grips the side of my glass with all its life. The palate is concentrated, full bodied with waves of honey and buttered fruits covering every facet. There’s a spiciness (fresh ginger) which gently starts at the tip of my tongue and continues to lay a path of warmth all the way back. Intensity is the core of this wine, with minerality and acidity providing some welcome relief. With time, honeysuckle and peach emerge, but so too does the spiciness, which I love. Emphatically long; never-ending to be perfectly honest and will continue to provide an extraordinary wine experience for many years to come. Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”.
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Pete Stolpman’s assessment is spot on; “A model of the ripe yumminess, the heavenly 2018 vintage will go down in history.” The bouquet offers an impressive concoction of soused cherry and sweet spices along with hypnotic potpourri, vanilla and liquorice. I love the aromatic depth. The palate is expansive and weightier compared to the Para Maria. Layer upon layer unfold with ripe blue and black fruits – there’s a plumpness and sheen to the fruit with lavender, sweet spices and a little menthol contrasting beautifully. The tannins are silky smooth. Perfectly pure and for twenty-quid, this will leave you weak at the knees. Excellent. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. 70% Syrah, 15% Sangiovese, 15% Grenache.”
Antonio Galloni "The 2013 Syrah Originals is developing into a highly appealing wine. Time in bottle has brought out a level of refinement the 2013 did not show when it was younger. Floral, lifted and savory, the 2013 offers lovely delicacy but also plenty of dark Ballard Canyon fruit. Rose petal, lavender and sweet red plum add the closing shades of nuance. The Originals is quite subtle within the context of the vintage."
96+ - 97 - Stuart McCloskey “This is simply gorgeous and so appealing straight from the bottle. The bouquet is fabulous with blueberry compote, plum, black cherry, leather, spice and a little dried herbal character. The palate is a real joy and is drinking a lot better than I recall (I first sampled this around 12 months ago). 40% of the Syrah component underwent carbonic maceration which provides a glorious feel of freshness and lifts the wine’s palate feel (such freshness). The fruit is ripe and generous with cherry, blueberry, mulberry and creme de mure – all flowing effortlessly. Graceful, joyous and must be the ‘red wine for the summer garden 2021.’ Irresistible and fabulous value. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. 80% Syrah / 20% Petit Verdot.”
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "Varner's Chardonnay Amphitheater Block is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon peel, almonds, chamomile, earthiness, dried apricot and sage meld together effortlessly. The 2013 Amphitheater is a classic Varner Chardonnay built on phenolic intensity and plenty of savory/floral notes that add nuance, while the fruit is pushed a bit into the background."
93 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2014 Chardonnay Amphitheater Block wraps around the palate with striking depth. Creamy, ample and expressive, the Amphitheater is all about texture. Orange peel, mint, graphite, candied lemon and sweet floral notes abound in this deeply nuanced Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. There is a lot to like here."
16+ Points - Jancis Robinson MW
Smoky, lively, very lightly reductive nose. Pretty sweet and broad on the front palate. Tastes a bit more advanced – and jujube – than I would have expected from such a young wine. Lots of early reward. Nice backbone sneaks up on you though.