The wine makers around Santa Barbara gained ’mindshare’ with the general public after the movie “Sideways” depicted its main characters rolling from one winery to another in search of the finest wine offerings. This attention gave the region instant celebrity and legitimate respect as a wine region. Of course, there is truth to the statement that “hot” wine regions draw lots of attention, and sometimes more than is deserved. But the wine-truth that matters the most is that, regardless of a region’s “hotness” or “coolness”, a quality wine is always worth seeking out. I would not presume to judge whether or not the Santa Barbara region deserves the current level of attention, I have enjoyed wines from this region, so that is enough for me… So here we have what I consider a quality wine – the 2009 Tensley Santa Barbara County Syrah. Concentrated but not sweet – sleeker than many of the wines I consider overly extracted – an aspect quite common in California Rhone style wines. This wine has serious weight, but not at the expense of becoming jammy. Dark raspberry fruit notes dominate with undercurrent floral notes intertwined with smoky chocolate and mineral flavors. The finish rounds out with savory mineral notes, but nothing too angular. The wine is nicely balanced through the entire flavor profile – a great example of an American Syrah and worth seeking out for your next Syrah experience.