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2014 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block
Wine Specs
88% Syrah, 12% Viognier
Santa Maria Valley
Vineyard Designation
Bien Nacido
5.8 g/L
Ideally hold until 2021, then 14 years ageability
Serving Temperature
58° F
Label Artist
Chris Freire
Alcohol %
Wine Enthusiast

2014 Syrah, Bien Nacido Vineyard, “X-Block"

95 Points, Editor's Choice ~ Wine Enthusiast




We have been working with the Bien Nacido Vineyard for effectively twenty-five years – it has always been an important backbone of the Cigare – and with this vintage, I’m sorry to report, will be the final varietal Syrah that we are producing from this outstanding vineyard. Bittersweet this parting is, as the 2014 X-Block may be well be the very finest rendering of Syrah we’ve achieved since perhaps the original Bonny Doon Estate (in Bonny Doon).

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/ 750 ml
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$50.00 per bottle / $540.00 per case
$42.50 per bottle / $480.00 per case (Members)

Wine Profile
Tasting Notes
In the nose, one scents both the savage and the refined: a bloody raw meat quality, but tempered with the uplifting candied raspberry nose of a Framboise liqueur. And then of course, there is licorice/anise in spades. The meaty/bloody quality of the wine recalls the sort of iron-filling like impression of a Cornas, but the slightly more perfumed quality of licorice hints at Hermitage. The wine is exceptionally well balanced, moderate in alcohol (13.7%), with a good acidity, ripe tannins and a finish that goes on at excruciating length. Without wishing to resort to gender stereotypes, this is a virile, manly wine and will stand up to a Brontosaurus burger (or just a good hanger steak).
95 Points, Editor's Choice, Wine Enthusiast, "This is a tremendous example of a cool-climate Syrah, enhanced by 12% Viognier, with cracked black peppercorn, gamy lamb meat, tarragon, rosemary, soy sauce, mint and black currant all present on the nose. The pepper-crusted meat flavor with blackberry jam shows strongly on the sip, finishing with hints of butterscotch and vanilla." - MK (Feb. 2018) | 94 Points, Vinous. "Dark bright-rimmed ruby. A complex expansive bouquet evokes fresh mineral-tinged red and blue fruits incense and pungent flowers and a smoky bacon nuance emerges with air. Concentrated but lively and well-delineated on the palate offering energetic blackberry bitter cherry and violet pastille flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Clings with impressive tenacity on the gently tannic finish leaving behind smoky mineral and candied violet notes. Drinking Window: 2020-2027" — J.R. (Oct. 2018)
Vineyard Notes
Sometimes it takes a while to get the hang of things. We’ve certainly gone through a lot with this block – from changing of the training style to modification of the irrigation regime – it really has been like watching it grow from a toddler to an adult.
Production Notes
In the most recent vintages, we had taken the habit of air-drying of the fruit post-harvest for a few days before crush, so as to totally lignify the stems, minimizing the vegetal impression. With this practice, we’ve been able to utilize 100% whole cluster fruit, get a slower, more even fermentation and thanks to the tannic contribution of the stems, ultimately create a wine with a much more muscular structure, truly built to last.
Winemaker Notes
What can I say but that this wine really has all of the qualities that I’ve personally come to love in classic Syrah.
Food Pairing Notes
Bacon wrapped Monkfish with Beurre Rouge. Cracked pepper rolled salami. Lamb sausage with lentils. Pepper crusted ahi tuna. French Camembert. Mushroom ragout with Pecorino polenta.
343 cases