Monday, March 29, 2010

Super Value Duo from California
2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah
2007 75 Wine Co. "The Sum"

Hello fellow wine readers and drinkers!  I have for you today two wines from California that I stumbled upon with the help of two of the leading wine publications in the industry today.  I had to try them for myself to see if the hype matched the stuff in the bottle before I was to publish them here on The Wine Forum.  The first wine is made by The 75 Wine Co. and called "The Sum".  This wine is made in an "affordable" style I am seeing more and more these days by blending Zinfandel with Syrah and Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon (think "The Prisoner").  The second wine was an exceptional expression of the Syrah grape from the Santa Ynez Valley, on the Central Coast of California.  

I was excited to try "The Sum" as it had received a nice review from the Wine Advocate of 90 points.  I also have found from the same producer the 75 Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County a decent value so I had decent expectations for this wine.  I gave it an 89, but was thinking 86-87 the whole way, but thought more to the general wine drinking public that would find this more exciting than I and for the price merits a little better score than my initial assessment.  It was clearly a California made wine as you could taste the sunshine on the ripe and rich fruit, as well as the Petite Sirah (10%) that gave it more California flair.  The core is Cabernet Sauvignon at 75% of the blend and the remaining 15% Syrah.  All of the fruit is from Red Hills in Lake County, north of the Napa Valley and an up an coming wine region offering nicely priced wines with good quality.

The second wine, and more exciting to me, was from the Central Coast of California in the Santa Ynez Valley from the pioneer winery in that region: Zaca Mesa.  Zaca Mesa was founded in 1972 and first planted in 1973, eventually deciding on Rhone varietals as the optimal grapes to plan in their vineyard properties way back in the 1970's.   Many great wine-makers have worked the vines and wine making facility at Zaca Mesa including those of Ojai and Au Bon Climat.    The Zaca Mesa 2006 Syrah is made from 100% estate grown fruit from their original vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley.  You would think it has to be good, and cheap, as they have tended the vines and held the property for so long in American wine years.  Very fresh and natural flavors and aromas were apparent in this wine, and at this price made it even more exciting.  This has to be the value of the year and the best QPR I have had to date this year.

Tasting Notes

2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah
California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
100% Syrah

Color:  Purple red core with red edges
Nose & Palate: Spicy, peppery and fleshy. Currants and raspberry, some plum and meaty flavors. More medium bodied to full bodied. Not a fruit and oak bomb (like I was expecting). Very fresh, and racy style. Well done, I'd say blind this was new world, but from a cool climate and price in the mid- $30's. A definite re-buy of multiple bottles.

2007 75 Wine Co. "The Sum"
California, North Coast, Red Hills Lake County
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Petite Sirah
I have seen a lot of this style of wine ala the Prisoner, Griffin, etc lately.  Not a bad thing per se, good concentration and stuffing for the money, good QPR.

Color: Red with some intense purple tinges
Nose & Palate:  Mixed bag of blueberry, blackberry and huckleberry. Savory and herbal spices combine with the lush fruit for a nice experience. Very in your face, yet restrained to not go too far as the wine retains acidity and supple tannins.
Good, easy, impressive drink...not a thinkers wine per se, but delicious and sure to please the masses.  Great price too at around $20!

Cheers and Enjoy,

P.S.  I have finished my tasting of Pinot Noir from New Zealand and will have an extensive blog with recommendations in all price categories and excelling Pinot Noir growing regions, especially those under $20, with a few over $20 and one insane steal at under $10.


  1. This is a great article, thanks! You've whetted my appetite to try these. I'll stay tuned for the Pinot Noir reviews...

  2. This is a great article, thanks! You've whetted my appetite to try these. I'll stay tuned for the Pinot Noir reviews...


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