Tensley Wines Santa Barbara County
Joey Tensley has built up an incredible reputation for his Syrah wines since he started up in 1998. Owning no vineyards, but obtaining his fruit from impeccable sources, he has built up production of his vineyard designated wines from 100 cases in his first year to over 3,000 cases now. Wife Jennifer has created her own brand – “Lea”, producing Syrah Rosé, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes for the Rosé come from a single vineyard, Tierra Alta, and a single Syrah clone, Tablas 99. Yields are low, three tons per acre and the grapes are crushed by foot. Half the fruit had skin contact for only three hours whilst the other half stayed on the skins overnight. There is rich fruit in the wine, and reasonable depth. Under the Tensley label, the Camp 4 Vineyard Blanc is a field blend of Grenache Blanc and Rousanne. It is bottled after a month and a half to preserve freshness. Aromatic with ripe fruit and overtones of pomelo distinguish this wine which can be drunk early or be drunk over the next 2 to 3 years. Joey makes a range of different vineyard designated Syrahs – two were tasted at our last visit. Turner Vineyard Syrah, is vinified in one year old barrels on the gross lees with some 25% to 30% of the grapes being included in whole clusters. The wine is elegant with the impressive finesse of this cool climate vineyard. The Colson Canyon Vineyard Syrah has much more depth and good tarry fruit, a touch of herbaceousness with supple tannins. A new and unusual experiment has resulted from a meeting in California with Cécile Dusserre, the owner and winemaker of the Domaine du MONTVAC in Vacqueras in the southern Rhône Valley. She shipped in bulk some of her Gigondas wine (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre) to Joey who blended it with Syrah from the Colson Canyon Vineyard. The result is a complex blend of fleshy California with the subtle and savoury Gigondas. Two significantly pricier Syrah’s are made from a blend of sites. OGT blends Colson Canyon, Thompson Vineyard and Tierra Alta fruit, while BMT comes from Colson Canyon and Rodney’s Vineyard and includes around a quarter Grenache with the Syrah components. (NB)
❁ Tensley Wines Santa Barbara County www.tensleywines.com
Joey & Jennifer Tensley 2900 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93446
Tel: 805 688-6761 Fax: 805 688-0591
To find out more about Tensley Wines and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide here..
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