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California Syrah: top Santa Barbara County wines

Santa Barbara County Syrahs are some of the most expressive and nuanced in California. From the 'Syrah capital' of Ballard Canyon to cool-climate Santa Maria Valley and saline examples from Sta Rita Hills, Matthew Luczy picks out some must-try wines.


Individual AVA analysis and top California Syrah from:
Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Napa County & Sierra Foothills, Monterey County, Paso Robles & San Luis Obispo

At the southern end of California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara County is an epicentre for expressive, nuanced Syrah. Exposure to the Pacific Ocean and the Transverse Ranges provide insulation from the desert-like conditions surrounding the region.

With 485ha of vines, Syrah is the third most planted grape variety in Santa Barbara County, after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Scroll down for Matthew Luczy’s top-scoring Santa Barbara County Syrahs

Matthew Luczy’s top Santa Barbara County Syrahs to try

The first nine wines below were tasted by Matthew Luczy in December 2020. The other wines were tasted on previous occasions.

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