90-93 Points, Wine Advocate: The 2009 Syrah Patrina is a new wine made from parcels that have never been used for Reva, Lorraine or Seymour's. The parcels are an assortment of younger vineyards and plots that were previously under contract when Alban sold fruit to other growers. It is a gorgeous, inviting wine laced with expressive aromatics and layers of supple, generous fruit. The radiance of the vintage is on full display. This is a great introduction to the house style, and should also drink well upon release. Alban plans to give the Patrina 24-25 months in French oak. At $48.00 a bottle the Patrina will be the least expensive wine in the Alban range. The Patrina will be sold through standard distribution channels rather than through the mailing list. It offers a rare and affordable glimpse into the craft of one of the Central Coast's most enduring pioneers of Rhone varieties. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.
Intermittently, Alban Vineyards produced a 'Central Coast Syrah' which was never predictable in either the years it might be made, nor in its quantity, however, whenever and whatever the amount offered, it was always tremendously popular. With each sporadic release, it became undeniable that lots of people really wanted this wine. Likewise, it became painfully clear to Alban that without control of the vineyards from which this wine would derive, nothing about it would ever be reliable. This said, in 2005, Alban discontinued purchasing grapes for the Central Coast Syrah, instead, he would embark upon developing his own vineyards for something that could take its place--only better.
Patrina is a gypsy word for leaf and grass blades. By mounding up patrin (leaves) in specific configurations called Patrina, Gypsies mark secret trails that fellow clan members could follow to special gathering places. Patrina guides these nomads to the site of what starts out as a simple get-together underscored with wine and song. These bohemian celebrations of nothing in particular inevitably escalate with great abandon into wildly hedonistic carousing.
Alban Vineyards is a patchwork of isolated soil types that you may recognize as Reva, Lorraine, Seymour's and Pandora. Between and in route to these well healed sites are vineyards that are not so obviously distinct. Patrina is a blend of these disparate and "disenfranchised' blocks into a single wine...like the Gypsy trains from which Patrina derives its name, we hope these bottles lead you to some great merriment, or more.