Wine Advocate #196–Antonio Galloni on the Wines of Craig Jaffurs
This is Antonio Galloni’s first piece on the wines of the Central Coast. Many reviews and points for certain producers fluctuated dramatically from last year when Parker, not Galloni, was at the helm of the California Book. The below statements from both of them is proof that Craig Jaffurs has instituted himself as one of the most dynamic and sought after winemakers in California today!
This is a very strong showing from Rhone specialist Craig Jaffurs. The Syrahs in particular are outstanding. In 2009 the Syrahs were picked between October 5 and November 4 illustrating just how long the harvest can stretch in Santa Barbara. The straight Santa Barbara County is an excellent starting point, and easily one of the best values readers will find in California Syrah. –A. Galloni
One of Santa Barbara’s superstar wineries, Jaffurs has been on fire over recent vintages. Craig Jaffurs is certainly one of the pedal-to-the-metal, brilliant young winemakers in Santa Barbara, and his wines reflect his commitment to quality and dedication to such extraordinary grapes as Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and Roussanne. Grenache is probably the second most difficult grape in the world to produce high quality wine from (with Nebbiolo first). –R. Parker
Jaffurs Syrah “Larner Vineyard” Santa Barbara 2008 93 pts
The outstanding, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2008 Syrah Larner Vineyard is brilliant. Tasting like a California version of a rich, concentrated Crozes-Hermitage from the northern Rhone, it offers up scents of tapenade, creme de cassis, licorice, pepper, and meat juices. Full-bodied with loads of fruit as well as impressive complexity, it should drink well for 7-8+ years.
Jaffurs Syrah “Verna’s Vineyard” Santa Barbara 2009 93 pts
The estate’s 2009 Syrah Verna’s Vineyard is another of the more restrained wines in this lineup. It was fermented with 73% whole clusters, which may account for much of the complexity in the glass. Blackberries, olive tapenade and herbs are some of the notes that come together in this refined, polished Syrah. There is more than enough going on to provide at least a handful of years of highly rewarding drinking. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
Jaffurs Syrah Santa Barbara 2009 92 pts
The 2009 Syrah is a gorgeous entry-level wine loaded with blackberries, blueberries, licorice and herbs. It shows lovely depth and roundness to match some of its more powerful tendencies. A few barrels of Petite Sirah add layers of muscle, yet this remains an exceptionally polished wine at its level, not to mention a fabulous value. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.
Jaffurs Viognier Santa Barbara 2009 92 pts
The 2009 Viognier is striking in its juicy apricots, peaches, mint and lime peel. All of the elements are beautifully woven together in this rich, textured Viognier that achieves remarkable harmony while avoiding heaviness. This is impressive juice. The fruit was sourced from Bien Nacido (78%) and Refugio Ranch (22%). The wine was fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.
Jaffurs Syrah Upslope 2009 95 pts
The 2009 Syrah Upslope is a selection of the estate’s six best barrels. Waves of intense dark fruit wrap around the palate in this thrilling, intense Syrah. The style here is decidedly towards the massive and muscular, but all of the elements take shape beautifully in the glass. This is a superb showing from Jaffurs. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.