I reviewed many great wines this year. The highest score, 96 points, went to the iconic Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Shiraz from 2003. But everyone knows about that wine. Wine reviewing is really about discovery. Thus, my wine of the year is from the other end of the celebrity continuum, from a small lot producer in Santa Barbara County–
Central Coast Group Project’s Captain Kierk (AKA the Knightwalker) Syrah Ballard Canyon 2013
Central Coast Group Project is Scott Sampler, a former philosophy student and Hollywood screenwriter, who produces around 1000 cases annually in an industrial park in Buellton. He practices the dark art of uber-long macerations. This Syrah was on the skins for 101 days. The result is a luxurious blend of power and tenderness, a wine so intense and intimate it was like falling in love all over again.
I’m really too old for this stuff.
The name of the wine is a clever amalgam of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, and Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (who called himself the Knight of Faith and loved to take long walks). If you’re curious about how all of this hangs together, well you just have to drink the wine. All will be revealed.
Here is my full review of the wine.
This is some of the most inspired winemaking I’ve come across—the whole lineup of several Syrah clones, Bordeaux varietals, Grenache, Mourvedre and a variety of blends is interesting and delicious.