So excited to taste the latest red wine release from Workman Ayer, a red blend from the Santa Barbara County. Why? As I sort of discovered Michel Ayer at an early Garagiste Festival, have since enjoyed his wines for a few years now at Wine in the Pines, and love the opportunity to sit down and really review a wine without having to stand and juggle pen and paper and a crowd at a wine festival.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a winemaker spends a lot of time to turn grapes into wine and I think they deserve some time and reflection when we get an opportunity to taste the final outcome.

So this is what I knew about the wine I was about to sample:

2015 "de facto"

Santa Barbara County red wine

80% Syrah, 20% Grenache

14.5% alcohol

96 cases produced; $38 SRP


Greeted by an opaque deep purple color, I then dove in for the aromas…that were tantalizing me from about a foot away.

There was very bold dark fruits – cherry, plum and blackberry, and a pepper that was almost palatable but not burning, worn leather, rich earth, pipe smoke and a velvety quality. I found myself reaching for the glass before I was done with my notes.

The palate provided what the aromas had promised: silky yet spicy, dry yet rich, blackest of fruits met the blackest of pepper, and the finish was nice and long.

Going in for a second taste, just to see what I may have missed, I found blackberry jam, cigar and toasted oak.

I started to regret the sub sandwich I had ordered for dinner. I scoured through my desk drawer until I found…chocolate. Oh yes, this was a perfect pairing, and next time I would definitely make sure I had a meat lover’s pizza or a meaty Bolognese to go with this. Definitely heavy in the Syrah department, my favorite department. 96 Eve Pts.

My Review of the 2014 “de facto” Syrah/Grenache blend 
The SCV Beacon - Eve's Wine 101: Workman Ayer Does it Again X Three - September 15, 2017

94 points

Lovely aromas of blackberry, blueberry, hard grape candy, milk chocolate, toasted oak…and an unexpected smoothness for a predominately Syrah wine. On the mouth the first thing I thought was Great Balance and then steady flavors of that same blue to black fruit, with just enough oak and tannins to slightly dry the palate. Hard to believe this was a 2014 as the balance made it appear older and the lack of heat make it appear like a French Rhône. Made me wonder where in Santa Barbara County the grapes were sourced. Ballard Canyon perhaps? One of the Stolpman Vineyards maybe? 
Paired the wine with what was planned for dinner: tri tip, Caesar salad and King’s Hawaiian bread. Clearly, the wine took center stage. Now I remembered why I sent everyone to Michel’s table at Wine in the Pines this past year. (EHB 9/15/17)


Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a "certification in first globally-recognized course" as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com