Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard.

The Winery

Tercero Vineyards is located in Los Olivos, California.  Larry Schaffer is the owner/winemaker.  Schaffer left a successful career in publishing to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker.  He earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis.  Thereafter he got winemaking career started as an enologist at Fess Parker Winery.  While at Fess Parker he started Tercero.

I first meet Larry a couple of years ago at one of my favorite events – Dark & Delicious. Initially, he caught my attention because he was aerating his wines in Erlenmeyer flasks rather than traditional decanters.  I thought – How cool is that (note to self – buy some lab beakers; they cost less and work as well!)?

I tried his wines, and came away impressed.

Since then, I’ve tasted his wines at a few other events, and continued to be impressed. The wines are worthy of attention, and reasonably priced (the reds are $30, the whites are $22!). On top of that, Larry is hard-working, down-to-earth, passionate, and very affable guy in my book.  And that matters to me.

Tercero Wines offers a range of wines including varietal bottlings of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, a red Rhône blend, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, and a dry Gewürztraminer. All wines are bottled under screwcap (extra points in my book!) Annual case production is about 1,250 cases.

The wines are worth seeking out, and if you get a chance, I heartily recommend a visit to the winery!

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard
Larry Schaffer of Tercero Vineyard. Image courtesy of Santa Barbara County Vintners Association

The Wine

Tercero sources the fruit for this wine from the Larner Vineyard, located in newly anointed Ballard Canyon AVA in the Santa Ynez Valley, in Santa Barbara County.

The vineyard and wines produced from Larner Vineyard have garnered a tremendous amount of attention from leading reviewers, and wine publications. Leading wineries that purchase grapes and produce wines from the Larner Vineyard include Jaffurs, Herman Story, Paul Lato, Bonaccorsi, and many others.  In addition to Syrah, Tercero also sources Grenache from the vineyard.

The wine is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier that were co-fermented. The Viognier give the wines an aromatic lift.  It was aged for 42 months in older French oak barrels.

Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard
Wine of the Week; 2009 Tercero Syrah Larner Vineyard

My tasting notes follow:

Carmine color with aromatic incense, mixed berry, baked cherry, brown sugar and cedarwood aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, vibrant and well structured with a supple texture.  It shows blackberry, blueberry, red and red currant flavors. Medium-long finish. SRP – $30; 100 cases produced; 14.4% alcohol

Rating: A-: A wonderful example of a cool-climate Syrah!

Pair with:  Seafood pasta dishes, chicken satay, chicken tikka masala, lamb, or Moroccan vegetable stew.

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.


  1. enobytes says:

    I have not had the Tercero Syrah but I am looking forward to tasting it. Thanks for the review!


    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks for stopping by Pam! Wishing you and your Happy Holidays!

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