2009 Rusack Syrah Ballard Canyon Estate Reserve

Year: 2009
Appellation: Santa Barbara County
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 89
Wine Advocate: 87
Vinous Media: 91
Wine Enthusiast: 92
Red Wine
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"Complex loamy earth, dried berry, pepper and cedar give this a tightly focused core of flavors. Full-bodied, persistent and detailed on the finish. Drink now through 2019. 391 cases made." (WS)

"The 2009 Syrah Ballard Canyon Estate Reserve literally oozes from the glass with masses of dark, jammy fruit, licorice, tar and copious French oak. This is a disappointing showing. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.

I was very impressed with the Chardonnays and Pinots I tasted from Rusack. The Syrahs appear to be works in progress, but given the level of the best wines here, I see no reason why they can’t be of similar quality. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later." (WA)

"(includes 17% petite sirah): Inky ruby. Fresh blackberry and floral aromas show very good clarity and a strong note of peppery spices. Supple and gently sweet, with strong raspberry and blackberry flavors complemented by a vanilla nuance and firmed by dusty tannins. The finish is broad, spicy and impressively persistent. I'd hold off on opening this syrah for a couple more years but it drinks nicely now with some air." (IWC)

"This rich Syrah leaves little to the imagination. It’s dramatic in blackberry and cherry fruit and exotic spices, sweetened with new oak. Delicious now and for the next few years." (WE)

"My first exposure to the Rusack brand was during a weekend trip to Catalina Island in the summer 2010. We heard from several islanders that the Wrigley/Rusack family was preparing to release the first ever Catalina Island wine. Later that year, we planned a trip to Santa Barbara County wine country and remembering the Rusack name, I decided to look them up and visit their beautiful Ballard Canyon location.

I haven’t heard much more about their Catalina Island wine, but their estate wines from Ballard Canyon are fantastic. Stolpman has put Ballard Canyon on the map as one of the top spots in the country for Syrah and Rusack’s last couple of Syrah confrim that. Their 2009 Ballard Canyon Estate is a dark brooding wine that pours a deep, almost black color, and shows huge concentrated blueberry on the nose and palate. This an extracted wine that’s best decanted far ahead of time. As I sit here writing this, it’s day three and the wine is at its best!

This wine received 91 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, who tends to be very hard to impress. Antionio Galloni from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate doesn’t like it quite as much at 87 points, but I would side with Tanzer. This is a great wine.

California’s Central Coast might release more under $20 values than any other domestic wine region, and at $19.95, Rusack’s Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah is another to add to the list!" (Nickel & Dime)

Winery Notes:
Our first reserve Syrah, this inaugural release is a barrel selection of 100% estate grown fruit. This bottling is abundant with aromas of boysenberry, blueberry and hints of cinnamon. Its dense fruit characteristics are complimented by complex flavors of anise, vanilla and dark chocolate.

Once the grapes are hand-harvested, they are immediately brought to the winery from the surrounding vineyard and de-stemmed. An initial cold soak occurred in the one-ton open top bins prior to the onset of fermentation. Moved to French oak barrels, 38% of which were new, the wines aged for 16 months. The optimal blend of 83% Syrah and 17% Petite Sirah was determined, and the wine bottled without filtration in February, 2011. Just 391 cases produced.