The 2022 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is a powerhouse. Inky dark fruit, new leather, licorice, dried herbs, chocolate and leather are all dialed up in this huge, opulent Syrah. There's not much subtlety here, that is for sure. I would give this a year or two to shed some baby fat.
Drink 2024 - 2032
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (July 2023)
The 2022 Syrah Santa Barbara County is scented of cassis, blueberries, warm chocolate, forest floor, lavender and iron. The full-bodied palate features powerful, floral fruit supported by soft, approachable tannins and bursts of mouthwatering acidity, and it has a long, fragrant finish. It's dangerously easy to drink without sacrificing nuance or complexity. 3,000 cases were produced.
Drink 2025 - 2035
Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate (December 2023)
A year-in, year-out smoking wine, the 2022 Syrah Santa Barbara County reveals a deep ruby hue as well as a ripe, decadent, full-bodied style in its pure black and blue fruits, peppery herbs, and violet-driven aromas and flavors. Textured and beautifully balanced, with a great finish, it's going to shine right out of the gate.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (August 2023)
About this WINE
Joey Tensley discovered wine at the age of 12 during a soccer trip to Bordeaux. He started making wine in 1993 at 22 and set up his own Tensley brand in 1998, spending the next 20 years finessing his craft with vintages in Chile, Argentina, Spain, and the Rhône Valley. Joey had already discovered a particular passion for Syrah and had started his own production in Santa Barbara with the mindset to create great quality and affordable wines from Rhône varieties.
He has since extended his range, producing exciting top-quality Syrah from single vineyards with excellent cellaring potential under the Tensley label, as well as brilliant and affordable Rhône blends, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon for drinking now under his Fundamental label.
Joey’s approach is simple: he works with great fruit from the best growers in the Central Coast and is as ‘hands-off’ as possible in the winery with minimum use of oak and sulfur. In 2016, he purchased 16 acres of his only estate vineyard, Colson Canyon, which lies above the all-important fog line, from which he had already been buying grapes to make his flagship cuvée since 2000.
Known as the King of Syrah, Joey Tensley has become renowned for his expertise with this variety, gaining a long list of accolades and high scores from critics such as Robert Parker. Today, he is widely recognized as one of the foremost winemakers in California. His wines reflect his thoughtful, laid-back approach and demonstrate a mineral purity that is quite exceptional for this region, especially at these price points.
Santa Barbara County
At the foot of the Central Coast, just north of Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara County reverberates with its Missionary past, although viticulture as we know didn't arrive here until the 1970s. Now there are 6,000 ha of world class Pinot Noir & Chardonnay.
While fog banks shape the season, together with a notable rainfall deficit between May & November, elevated terraces such as Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley AVA faciliate premium fruit growing. Santa Ynez Valley AVA enjoys similar trait, though cooler still;
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.