Winemaker Matthias Pippig brings Syrah to a whole new level with this stunningly dramatic bottling. Don't worry about the California appellation, a peculiarity of the winery's ownership. It's made entirely from Santa Barbara grapes, namely from Watch Hill in Los Alamos and Bien Nacido in Santa Maria Valley. The intensity of fruit defies description. It suggests enormous blackberry and creamy-sweet chocolate, larded with bacon and sprinkled with black pepper—and that doesn't even begin to describe the toasty sweetness of the 100% new oak barrels. This is the best California Syrah of the vintage, and one of the greatest Syrahs the state has ever produced. This opulence comes at a cost, however: The alcohol is high.