At the beginning of May, during bloom, the weather took a drastic turn, with winds and rains causing the vines to lose the majority of their berries, resulting in significantly smaller yields with high level of fruit concentration. Then, in the middle of July, another storm hit Paso Robles delivering 4 inches of much needed rain just in time for veraison, when the grapes needed water the most. We were destined for greatness with harvest right around the corner. We harvested the 2015 PharaohMoans Syrah mid-September, as planned. The vineyard is planted in two different terroirs: one from deeper clay-rich soil allowing for stronger tannin structure and the other from shallower hillside limestone, adding freshness to the grapes. The 2015 Syrah is incredibly elegant, the silky tannins coat your mouth with flavors of cassis, dark fruits and some licorice. The bold flavors and incredible structure will allow this wine to age gracefully for 10-15 years.
2015 SYRAH, 94-95 POINTS
"Saturated ruby. A powerfully scented, complex bouquet evokes ripe boysenberry, cherry preserves, five-spice powder and candied flowers. Stains the palate with sweet black and blue fruit, spicecake and violet pastille flavors that show impressive delicacy for their heft. Smooth tannins frame a broad, smoke-tinged finish that hangs on with excellent, floral-dominated persistence. This big boy checks in at a robust 15.9% alcohol but doesn't come off hot or even warm."
- Josh Raynolds, Vinous, November 2017
2014 SYRAH, 93 POINTS
"So balanced and refined with a blackberry and mineral character. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a polished and beautiful finish. Drink now."
- James Suckling, December 2016
2014 SYRAH, 94 POINTS
"Playing in the same style as the Grenache, the 2014 Syrah is a full-bodied fruit bomb that offers a sexy, hedonistic, pedal to the metal style. Coming from the Hawk Hill, Jada and Hearhill vineyards (all limestone soils) and aged 18 months in 65% new oak, its inky color is followed by a full-bodied, decadent, soft red that's loaded with notions of creme de cassis, licorice, caramelized meats and smoked herbs. It shows the richness of the vintage beautifully and will drink well through 2024."
- eRobertParker, August 2016
2013 SYRAH, 97 POINTS
"A sensational barrels sample from winemaker Guillaume Fabre, the 2013 Syrah (there's 2% Grenache in the blend) exhibits a killer nose of creme de cassis, white chocolate, melted licorice and sweet spice to go with a decadent, concentrated and voluptuous style on the palate. Despite its wealth of fruit and texture, it never seems over the top, stays lively and balanced and has a great finish. If you're craving lightweight aromas and flavors, look elsewhere."
- eRobertParker.com, August 2015
2012 SYRAH, 95 POINTS
"The brilliant 2012 PharaohMoans is a blend of 98% Syrah and 2% Grenache that was aged in 80% new French oak barrels prior to bottling. A big, rich and fleshy Paso red, it knocks it out of the park with its chocolatey dark fruits, pepper, olive and charred meat-like aromas and flavors. This isn't for those craving delicacy, yet it stays clean and classy, with full-bodied richness, thrilling amounts of texture and a seamless, focused finish. There's not a track record here with regards to aging, yet this should be better in another year and have at least a decade of prime drinking."
- Wine Advocate, August 2014
2011 SYRAH, 94 POINTS
"A gorgeous effort that's made from 92% Syrah and 8% Grenache, all from Westside Vineyards and aged 16 months in 80% new oak, the 2011 PharaohMoans dishes out knockout black raspberry, roasted meats, chocolate and spice-driven aromatics. This full-bodied, decadent and dense effort stays focused and classy with big structure and a great mid-palate. Already approachable due to the wealth of material, it nevertheless has the balance and depth to evolve for over a decade. Drink now-2021. If you're in the mood for a full-bodied, gorgeously textured Syrah, few do it better."
- Wine Advocate, August 2013
2011 SYRAH, 93 POINTS
"Dark purple. A wild, highly perfumed bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, violet, cola and smoky Indian spices. Sappy, concentrated boysenberry and cherry-vanilla flavors are complemented by notes of licorice and mocha and a hint of candied flowers. Really stains the palate, finishing smooth, spicy and long, with fully absorbed tannins.
- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, November/December 2013
2011 SYRAH, 94 POINTS
"Velvety smooth with ripe blackberry, boysenberry and vanilla oak; intense with notes of sweet chocolate, Christmas spice and toasted chestnuts; seamless and elegant with a long, lush finish."
- Anthony Dias Blue, Tasting Panel, September 2013
"Dark, plush and layered, the 2011 Syrah shows a little more complexity than the 2010. Cinnamon, cloves and flowers add lovely nuance to this racy, intense wine. I very much like the sense of energy here. It will be interesting to see the direction future vintages take. The 2011 is 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache."
- Antonio Galloni, July 2013
2010 SYRAH, 93 POINTS
"Along the same lines, the 2010 Westside (same blend as the 2011 yet with a touch less new oak) is slightly richer and more plush, with notions of cassis, black raspberry, tobacco smoke and chocolate giving way to a full-bodied, decadent Syrah that has silky tannin and no hard edges. Enjoy it through 2018. Drink now-2018."
- Wine Advocate, August 2013
"The 2010 Syrah boasts serious depth and power. A big, large-scaled wine, the 2010 fleshes out in the glass nicely. Black fruit, menthol and spices meld into crushed rocks and leather. The style is very ripe, but there appears to be good potential for this project moving forward. In 2010 the blend is 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache."
- Antonio Galloni, July 2013
2010 SYRAH, 92 POINTS
"Delivers a firm, vibrant mix of roasted coffee, dark and dried berry, mineral, cedar, pencil lead and dried licorice. An intriguing mix of flavors. Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2024."
- J.L., Wine Spectator, December 31, 2012
2010 SYRAH, TOP 100 WINES - RobbReport's Holiday Host's Guide
"Though its name is tongue-in-cheek, this blend of Syrah and Grenache is a true treat for the taste buds, evoking notes of concentrated blackberry, espresso, and smoked meat."
- Brett Anderson, "Winter Vintages: Our 100 favorite wines for the season", RobbReport Holiday 2012 Host's Guide
2009 SYRAH, 93 POINTS
"A wine with balance and personality with spice and chocolate and meat. Full and rich with plenty of fruit and a flavorful finish. Plenty going on in the glass here. Buy it. John Schwartz, owner of Amuse Bouche Winery in Napa Valley, and Chef Bryan Ogden. Delicious now."
- James Suckling, November 2011
2009 SYRAH, 92+ POINTS
"If you know the Rhône-style wines of Saxum, which is probably Paso Robles' most expensive wine, this is nearly identical. Mostly Syrah, with 8% Grenache, the wine is decadently rich in milk chocolate, blackberry jam and sweet, smoky oak flavors. It's very high in alcohol, but unless you're an extremist in this regard, you can't help but be knocked out by the wine's sensuous pleasures."
- S.H., Wine Enthusiast Magazine, November 2011
As you are aware, the PharaohMoans label is a replica of the Rosetta Stone, which in 1822 finally decoded the hieroglyphic script. The dull text (which refers to tax breaks for priests) was inscribed in three languages, Greek, demotic Egyptian and hieroglyphics. We've just learned about a recent discovery at the British Museum of a fourth language on the Rosetta stone. The relic was fought over by French and British troops at the end of the Napoleonic wars, and finally taken to London. On the side of the stone, painted in English, one can read, "Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801." We think our English label inspired them to check!
We hope you will enjoy this world class rhone-style wine. Nunc Est Bibendum! ("Now we drink!")
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