' Ken Brown - Wines

2019 Zaca Mesa Vineyard Syrah

This wine takes Ken full circle! Vines were grown on cuttings from the original Syrah Ken planted at Zaca Mesa in 1978, the first cultivation of Syrah in Santa Barbara County.
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$50.00 per Bottle


This wine represents a return to Ken’s roots as the founding winemaker of Zaca Mesa Winery in 1977. This Syrah—grown on cuttings from the block Ken planted in 1978—boasts aromas of blueberries and cracked pepper. Luscious flavors of blackberry jam and a hint of sage are supported by rich tannins and a smooth, lingering finish. The superb texture and complex profile will only be enhanced with additional time in the cellar.

Vineyard Notes

Zaca Mesa Vineyard is the birthplace of Santa Barbara County Syrah thanks to the vision of a young winemaker, Ken Brown. As Zaca Mesa’s first winemaker, Ken planted the Estrella Selection of Syrah in 1978 in what became known as the “Black Bear” block. The Estrella selection has uniquely adapted to Zaca Mesa’s terroir over the past 45 years, and is in the process of becoming a Heritage Clone by the U.C. Davis Foundation Plant Services Program. In the meantime, cuttings from the Black Bear block were used to plant Mesa Block A, which is the source for this wine. The vines are situated on a 1,400-foot mesa above the fog line, perfect for developing rich character and intensity.

Production Notes

The 2019 vintage enjoyed a long, cool growing season, which resulted in bright aromatics, complex flavors and well-balanced natural acidity in the grapes. A mild spring led to late budbreak and bloom, and temperatures remained below average for most of the growing season. Warm late summer weather coaxed the fruit to ripeness, and we picked most of our Syrah grapes in mid-October. Overall, grapes were ideally ripened with pure fruit expression and rich concentration. Syrah from Zaca Mesa Vineyard was harvested on October 14th.

Winemaker Notes

This Syrah was crafted using an adaptation of Australian winemaking techniques focused on extraction early in the fermentation process, minimizing the risk of harsh tannins. The grapes were crushed into tanks and given a four-day cold soak. At the conclusion of fermentation, the lots were pressed immediately and aged for 17 months in French oak barrels with 25% new oak in the mix. The wine was bottled on March 31st, 2021.
Vintage 2019
Wine Style Red Wine
Varietal 100% Syrah
Appellation Santa Ynez Valley
Acid 6.8 g/l
PH 3.73
Alcohol % 14.3
Size 750 ml