2011 1/1 Sanguis Syrah Santa Barbara
From our young vineyards in the eastern portion of the Santa Rita Hills, the John Sebastiano vineyard, the first two years that these young vines bore fruit happened to fall into the two coolest vintages on record for the area and despite tiny yields (less than a pound per plant on average), achieving sufficient sugar ripeness proved difficult, required patience and creativity (aside from causing serious lack of sleep). However, the results could not please me more.
This wine is a rare case of singularity in Sanguis wine production - single varietal, single vineyard, (and lamentably) a bloody single barrel of this elixir is all there is, because it was such a complete thing in and of itself. 1/1, the wine, is of a savage character who in spite of his wild soul does such a fine job balancing savory and sweet notes, firm structure with silky texture, youth and maturity.
1/1 is what the fuel gauge on my dad’s old Mercedes said when the tank was full. I never got that as a kid – I got the 0 and ½ but what does 1/1 mean(?): A full measure, and in the case of this wine a unique (read ‘one of a kind’ wine for my young operation). This wine is pretty close to my ideal for the varietal. I credit the vineyard and diligent farming for the quality and the fact that the vintage challenged me to find creative ways (such as partially dehydrating the fruit in thousands of perforated trays, Amarone-style, to get the sugars higher than 22 brix) for what is in the bottle.