2009 Whitehawk Vineyard Syrah
Syrah • White Hawk Vineyard
Santa Barbara County
A terrifically delicious wine, today’s Robléon Winery 2009 Whitehawk Vineyard Syrah is a truly exceptional wine that our entire tasting panel simply adored.
A hearty, full flavored red, this wine will appeal to lovers of those heartier styles of Syrah. One of our panelists called this wine to be a ‘party in a bottle’, and we all agreed.
Built in a bolder style, this fruit-driven wine delivers a ton of flavor, right up front on the palate. On the nose, the wine is beautifully aromatic, with aromas that jump out of the glass.
Pair with a hearty spiced meat dish like carnitas. A BBQ filet mignon rubbed with black pepper would also be quite wonderful.
Dark and foreboding, with dark purple hues and edges of pure magenta. Tall legs hold onto the color of the wine, taking a very long time to emerge.
Classic new world Syrah with plump fruit of dark plum, stewed plum, black cherry, blackberry, dried blueberry. These sit atop more savory aromas of forest floor, mushroom, pepper, cinnamon, olive, dried pine needle, spicy tobacco and dried dark rose petals.
Fills the mouth with with weight and depth. Leads with flavors of dark violets, dark dried roses, mission fig, stewed plum and graphite.
Dark fruit lingers for a long time, to be replaced by graphite, dusty dried flower petals and pancetta.
What the Winery Says
The wine from this vintage reminds me of some I have tasted that come off of the slopes in northern Rhône’s Cornas AOC. Blueberry fruit, full palate, obviously big bodied and possessing a level of suppleness that entices you back for another sip. Kind of like a big hairy beast that is able to tap-dance. There is also some spice here, typical of the variety and the vineyard, adding interest to the mid palette and finish, moving the fruit into the mocha zone. If a monster, it is a friendly one, of the type that will make you want to curl up with it in front of the fireplace. Go ahead and relax, this beast will make you feel great and entertain you at the same time.
The Vintage and Vineyards
White Hawk vineyard sits on the southern facing slope of Cat Canyon, some 21 miles from the Pacific and 2 miles north of the town of Los Alamos. The marine influence causes cool, early morning fog to envelop the site before giving way to bright sun. It is planted at an elevation of 900 feet on pure sands that immediately drain off water and nutrients, forcing the vines to work extra-hard to survive. Yields here are low due to the smaller berries inherent in the syrah noir clone, the cool climate influence of the Pacific, and these exceptionally challenging soils. Although vines in the region in general got off to a late start in this vintage, those on White Hawk benefited from their higher elevation where they avoided the hard frosts experienced in low lying vineyards and received more sunlight. This was the third drought vintage in a row for Santa Ynez, and the sandy soils at White Hawk gave nothing back to the vines this year, allowing us to totally control their access to water and thus their vigor and yield. Heat spikes in August and September more than caught the vines up and the fruit was ready to harvest somewhat earlier than usual on October 9.
Vineyards: White Hawk
Cooperage: Francois Freres and Sirugue French Oak (20% new)
About the Winery
The founders of Robléon Wines are Robin G. and Charles Leon Wilkins, husband and wife. The company name emerges from the two founders,ROBin and Charles LEON. This Francophile combination of their two names personifies with everything they have enjoyed of France, from ancestry to culture, from food to agriculture, and from lifestyle to the French-style Robléon Wines of Santa Ynez Valley California. Click to learn more about our wine region.
Charles grew up in Southern California. “I am the son of farmers and ranchers, and the grandson of farmers and ranchers on my mother’s side of the family. As far back as I can remember we lived in an agricultural area and grew and raised all sorts of things, from crops to chickens, rabbits, pigs and cattle. As a young man I worked in the fields and around the yard planting, harvesting and delivering some of the crops grown. I attended the animals, watering, feeding and caring for them.”
Robin has French ancestry. “My grandparents were from the Provence area in the village of Valensol. My great grandfather was a French chef and I have fond memories of visiting his home for holiday dinners with great French food and wine. Enjoyment of cooking, food and wine were the focus of our family gatherings and even as a child I appreciated the value of conversation at the family table while enjoying food and wine. I also grew up in farming areas, tending my own vegetable garden from a young age. Each year I would set up a roadside stand to share my harvest with others. For me, grape growing and winemaking seems a natural part of my history by sharing the culture of good wine and food along with the bounty of the harvest.”
“All of this led us to the desire for acreage and agricultural land on which to involve ourselves in the fruits of nature. Agriculture is in our blood. It was only fitting that we would search for a place that could offer the ability to get back to our roots.”