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 Vintage2008 Label 1 of 30 
ProducerLillian Winery (web)
SubRegionCentral Coast
AppellationSanta Barbara County

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2012 and 2019 (based on 8 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Lillian Syrah on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 93.1 pts. and median of 93 pts. in 115 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by hanasowner on 1/30/2016 & rated 90 points: Pop and pour from magnum...muted nose that opened up after an hour or so...some charred meat and dark fruit off the nose, but very short on the smooth finish...a "crowd pleaser" wine for sure, but nothing extraordinary. (388 views)
 Tasted by vanpe003 on 10/16/2015 & rated 92 points: A little harsh on the pop, but settles down nicely after a couple hours. Lush flavor profile. Big but not heavy. Nicely balanced. I'd like to see how this progresses, but this was my last bottle. Would recommend a decant for current consumption - an hour or two. (1045 views)
 Tasted by Uglypinga on 10/6/2015: A littlw beef and lads of blackberries on the nose. The palate is big and soft with blueberries and chocolate. Some tannins there. Lots of time to go. (1044 views)
 Tasted by hanasowner on 9/25/2015 & rated 94 points: Gave it about 30 minutes in the decanter before the first glass and consumed several glasses over a couple hours...fruit forward nose with some earthiness and spice...integrated tannins and long finish...drinking very well. (1093 views)
 Tasted by cpsmith33 on 9/21/2015 & rated 92 points: Very nice showing and a well made wine.
My one stick is that I wish it showed some more complexity at this age. Very smooth and easy to drink though.
Classic Paso Syrah.. (1209 views)
 Tasted by recotte on 8/17/2015: PnP. Gorgeous nose that is brambly and fruit dominated. Palate was a touch out of balance on open, with heat making it a bit disjointed, but with about 30 minutes of air, it settled down. Velvety with a long finish, the berry notes from the nose carried through to the palate along with a nice minerality. Sufficient acidity to keep this from being flabby, and I think this will continue to age well for another few years. (1373 views)
 Tasted by GlenviewGSW on 6/7/2015 & rated 93 points: lillian continues to deliver on some of my favorite syrahs. I find them to be rich yet well balanced with a long fruit driven finish backed by enough acidity to suggest it will continue to drink well for many more years. (1401 views)
 Tasted by cpsmith33 on 5/2/2015 & rated 92 points: Decanted and consumed over 3 hours.
I really enjoy this wine and it's very well made.
However the price is high for new vintages and while this '08 was a bunch cheaper I am not sure I'll be buying anymore.
Great Paso Syrah up in the top range of its class, but should be some more complexity / depth at 7 years old for the price. (1268 views)
 Tasted by LucasLabelle on 3/22/2015 & rated 95 points: Decanted for 6 hours. Absolutely stunning wine. Incredibly complex and just delicious. (1603 views)
 Tasted by jhieb on 3/9/2015 & rated 93 points: Dense stuff. (1655 views)
 Tasted by amateurwino on 1/17/2015 & rated 94 points: The more bottles of Lillian Syrah that I drink, the more I get an understanding of its character. This wine shows luscious purple fruits, framed by oak, and black pepper spice - but you can say that about so many New World syrahs. What sets this wine apart is that they all come together so harmoniously - the fruit has a special rich loveliness on the palate and lovely violet perfume. The pepper note has an intensity that is not overpowering; rather it has a vividness. I think much of this is owing to the White Hawk vineyard that it's sourced from, but I guess later vintages could answer this question as I believe other sources are now mixed into this bottling. Just a gorgeous, lovely wine. 94-95 (1461 views)
 Tasted by Mlermontov on 1/17/2015 & rated 94 points: Big Wines Night - or how a Riesling stole the show?: What a pretty wine.... though this did not take the cake tonight - this was a revelation to me personally. vanilla and smooth sexy velvet... this is the One to cuddle with. Ripe plums, blackberry, hints of coco... long finish that coats the mouth and pulls your lips into a smile... SEXY beast!! (1903 views)
 Tasted by hanasowner on 12/26/2014 & rated 92 points: Popped and poured...not as expressive as the last bottle, which is to say the pepper notes took a backseat to dark fruit...very smooth and nice finish. (1475 views)
 Tasted by Nutty08 on 11/14/2014 & rated 94 points: Really great Lillian in a great place. Prominent pepper spice on the nose and palate along with purple fruit. Acidity, tannins, and oak are in balance with a plushness to the fruit. Long finish of coffee, toast and spice. In its drinking plateau. (1778 views)
 Tasted by mjfaulkner on 10/1/2014 & rated 91 points: Ripe with plush blackberry and black cherry flavor. Soft tannins on the finish. A bit lacking in underlying structure and acidity to be more than very good for my taste. (1901 views)
 Tasted by Chrisinroch on 9/27/2014 & rated 93 points: PnP from a cool cellar. Really dark in the glass. Nose of raspberry jam. Lots of raspberry and quite a streak of acid. Finishes long with black tea. Really nice now, but it has a few years ahead. Delicious. Excellent (90~93) (1619 views)
 Tasted by spidersva on 9/15/2014 & rated 94 points: Brooding. Still young and not at full power. Freaking delicious. (1898 views)
 Tasted by bonedocnine on 8/29/2014 & rated 94 points: Mmmmmm! this is delicious. (1784 views)
 Tasted by Rosengoo on 7/29/2014 & rated 95 points: Drank at a local restaurant with no decanting. The wine was clear and a deep purple. Tons of cherries on the nose as well as in the glass. The levels of spices was quite manageable and the tannins and acidity were also not overbearing. Overall, a very enjoyable and youthful wine. (1988 views)
 Tasted by Firefly78 on 6/16/2014 & rated 91 points: Good fruit quality, spice undertone, ripe, rich and dense. Medium acidity and sweet tannins. In agreement with other reviewers that found the heat on this one distracting. (1936 views)
 Tasted by Snoman on 5/27/2014 & rated 96 points: Deep purple in glass, incredible aromas of blackberry, blueberry compote and roasted meat, which carry to the palate in waves of richness and intensity, and somehow never seem to be out of balance or overpowering with the meal. At release, this was a bit difficult to predict the future of the wine, but it is just now showing a hint of just how great it will become over the next decade or so. The fruit is memorable, there is still a splash of bright acidity to balance, and the tannins are rounding out and more embracing than just a couple of years ago. Terrific effort, thanks Maggie! (1998 views)
 Tasted by pa81 on 5/3/2014: Drank with anniversary dinner (2008 marriage, so this seemed appropriate). Opened up bottle an hour or two before dinner and brought to a restaurant. Very nice wine. Big ripe red fruits and good stuff going on. I thought it was big but within balance; my wife and I both really enjoyed the bottle with a nice meal. (1797 views)
 Tasted by Gott vin on 5/1/2014 & rated 93 points: Efter en timme i karaff, direkt ur vinkyl: Doft: Otroligt tät frukt, vilket jag gillar. Solmogen, lite kryddighet, tätt och intensivt. Alkoholstark. ändå lite is (?),
Smak: Mörk frukt, lagon alkohol, Lång eftersmak.
Älskar den. Kommer köpa mer om tillfälle ges,Kan lagras längre. Bör kanske drickas till mat,, men jag tar det som det är varje dag i veckan..;) (1868 views)
 Tasted by cpsmith33 on 4/27/2014 & rated 90 points: Decanted and drank over 12 hours. Had with cheese earlier in the day and then pasta later. Couldn't get past the heat here. I like what was going on underneath, but too much. I have liked Lillian in the past for being more balanced (relative to other "big reds"), but this once wasn't = maybe in a funky stage? (1595 views)
 Tasted by fine137 on 4/8/2014 & rated 89 points: Really wanted to like this, but couldn't get past the heat. (1771 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Jeb Dunnuck
The Rhone Report, Issue #10 (12/4/2011)
(Lillian Winery Syrah) Login and sign up and see review text.   94+ points
By Josh Raynolds
Vinous, November/December 2011, IWC Issue #159
(Lillian Syrah California) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (3/5/2014)
(Lillian Winery Syrah) Opaque red violet color; roasted black fruit, pepper, raspberry puree, dark chocolate nose; rich, concentrated, creamy textured, roast black fruit, dark chocolate palate; could use 2 years; long finish (15.3% alcohol) 92+ points  92 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of The Rhone Report and Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Lillian Winery

Producer website

2008 Lillian Winery Syrah

Production: 450 cases

It's quiet in the winery today. A steady, grey drizzle is falling, the coffee is cooling too quickly in my cup and Peter Garland is echoing pleasingly through the cellar. I am, for the first time in three days, alone.

The weekend was a beautiful mess. The table was heavy with sterling and ceramics, beeswax and Buisson de Roses. The chandelier was fashioned from a vintage ladder and a string of industrial lights. Tolix chairs, warm gougères, Kraft paper, gypsy jazz. We opened the door and invited you in.

You came alone and in pairs. You brought your families. You were new to the wines and you were old friends. You were so polite and listened so patiently while we spoke about our vineyards and our wines, our nagging fears and our crazy dreams. We were lucid and bright or tongue-tied and timorous in turns. For you we poured the wines of Antica Terra and Lillian: white, pink and red.

It is so odd: this moment. Offering you a glass of our wine is a strange moment suspended in time. It is simultaneously an end and a beginning. When all of our work comes together and, in the same instant...literally disappears.

As I heaved the last of the empty bottles into the recycling bin and washed the inky rings off of the last of the glasses, I felt a fresh sense of relief. Too often I torture myself by mistakenly attributing permanence to my every winemaking decision. But as I watched you tip your glasses back to capture the last drops of the last wine of the day I remembered just how fleeting it all is. One vintage, one day, one glass: one moment. That's really all there is.

Two thousand and eight was a year where I lost sight of the impermanence. In that uncharacteristically cool vintage, every decision was a difficult one. I was immobilized by worry and indecision on an almost daily basis. I changed picking dates at the last minute, declassified barrels and postponed a bottling. I reworked the final cuvèe over and over again. Since then, I have been loath to open a bottle, too afraid to find that I made the wrong choices, that I had screwed it all up once and for all. And yet, when I shared the wine this weekend and watched as you set your empty glasses back down on the table, a look of absolute delight and pure pleasure on your faces, I was reminded anew that the culmination of all of the moments I spent agonizing over that wine were (and always will be) translated, in a moment, to a single sensation and then to a memory. Permanently impermanent.

I was foolish to have waited so long to pull a cork. The wine is undeniably lovely. It is pure and long and clear. Because I chose to declassify a number of barrels, there is less wine than I had hoped to offer but the remaining barrels have come together with a seamlessness and a completeness that is apparent from the first sip. And while there is a little less of the 2008 syrah (450 cases) than I was hoping for, I was able to bottle a few more cases of the 2007 Blue Label with this go around. At 103 cases, I am finally able to offer at least a small allocation to every active member of the mailing list. I am incredibly excited to get these wines to your table. Together, I think that the two wines represent the best examples of syrah I have made to date. Honestly.

You may view your allocation and, if you'd like to see if you agree with me about the wines, place an order, by clicking on the link at the top of this page. The wines allocated to you will be available until the 20th of June. After that time, I will offer any unclaimed wine to the next folks on the waiting list. And please, if you have any trouble with or questions about our e-commerce system, don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at mh@lillianwinery.com.

Thank you, once again, for your incredibly generous and continued enthusiastic support of my wines. Not a moment goes by that I am not acutely aware that were it not for you, I would not be able to do this crazy, torturous thing that I love more than I know how to express.

Thank you.


Varietal article (Wikipedia) | (Wines Northwest)


WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!


California Wines (Wine Institute of California)

California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

Central Coast


Central Coast AVA Wikipedia

Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County

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