Central Coast Continues Its Rise: Rusack ’09 Syrah
My first exposure to the Rusack brand was during a weekend trip to Catalina Island in the summer 2010. We heard from several islanders that the Wrigley/Rusack family was preparing to release the first ever Catalina Island wine. Later that year, we planned a trip to Santa Barbara County wine country and remembering the Rusack name, I decided to look them up and visit their beautiful Ballard Canyon location.
I haven’t heard much more about their Catalina Island wine, but their estate wines from Ballard Canyon are fantastic. Stolpman has put Ballard Canyon on the map as one of the top spots in the country for Syrah and Rusack’s last couple of Syrah confrim that. Their 2009 Ballard Canyon Estate is a dark brooding wine that pours a deep, almost black color, and shows huge concentrated blueberry on the nose and palate. This an extracted wine that’s best decanted far ahead of time. As I sit here writing this, it’s day three and the wine is at its best!
This wine received 91 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, who tends to be very hard to impress. Antionio Galloni from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate doesn’t like it quite as much at 87 points, but I would side with Tanzer. This is a great wine.
California’s Central Coast might release more under $20 values than any other domestic wine region, and at $19.95, Rusack’s Ballard Canyon Estate Syrah is another to add to the list!
Buy Here: 2009 Syrah Ballard Canyon Estate $19.95
International Wine Cellar 91 points
(includes 17% petite sirah): Inky ruby. Fresh blackberry and floral aromas show very good clarity and a strong note of peppery spices. Supple and gently sweet, with strong raspberry and blackberry flavors complemented by a vanilla nuance and firmed by dusty tannins. The finish is broad, spicy and impressively persistent. I’d hold off on opening this syrah for a couple more years but it drinks nicely now with some air.
Wine Advocate 87 points
The 2009 Syrah Ballard Canyon Estate is a big, jammy wine loaded with black fruit, plums, spices and licorice. It shows good depth, but little in the way of true complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.
I was very impressed with the Chardonnays and Pinots I tasted from Rusack. The Syrahs appear to be works in progress, but given the level of the best wines here, I see no reason why they can’t be of similar quality. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.