Special Release – XV 15th Anniversary Cuvée (Syrah)

Special Release – XV 15th Anniversary Cuvée (Syrah)

We are excited to announce the release of a unique and special wine, which was five years in the making.

Dragonette Cellars XV 15th Anniversary Cuvée (Syrah)

You will immediately note that there is no vintage for this wine. Rather, it is a blend of some remarkable Syrah wines from three different vintages. We gave the components of this wine exceptionally long aging in barrel before carefully blending them to make a completely unique and stunningly complex wine. We made this wine in homage to the famous Único, Reserva Especiale wine of Vega Sicilia in the Ribera del Duero (Spain), and we commissioned unique and special artwork to adorn its bottle. You can see details on the artist and artwork below.

History of the XV

In 2016, as we tasted the lots that would be used to make the 2015 MJM, we noted that the wines were truly exceptional. Products of extremely low yields and a hot, dry year, the wines were dense, concentrated and packed with flavor, yet balanced by powerful (yet ripe) tannins. We wondered whether even further barrel aging beyond the MJM’s typical 27-34 months would bring even more intrigue. We decided to experiment keeping one 228L barrel of the 2015 MJM blend for even longer aging. The ensuing 2017 vintage produced Syrahs of similarly immense structure, and we reserved some wines from that vintage as well. Ultimately, we tasted numerous potential cuvees with other vintages of MJM and MJM components before deciding upon this blend.[1] Each vintage increases the complexity of the final blend. We like to think of it as adding “vertical” complexity to the “horizontal” complexity one creates by blending wines from multiple sites in the same vintage. As always, the Syrah for this wine comes from some of the finest sites and finest growers in Santa Barbara County, and we farm each site carefully for vine balance, appropriate yield and highest quality.

[1] Interestingly, we did not include any 2016 MJM in this wine, and that wine ended up garnering a 99-point score from Jeb Dunnuck. Still, that wine was of a different character than the XV, as it was more open and generous and perhaps a wee bit less structured that the 2015 and 2017.
Technical Specifications

The wine is comprised of three vintages: 2015 (45%), 2017 (45%), and 2018 (10%).

Vineyard sources include: Stolpman (48%, 3 blocks), John Sebastiano (42%, 3 blocks), Kimsey (8%, 3 blocks), Larner (2%).

The wine is 95% Syrah, 4% Grenache, and 1% Viognier.

We aged each vintage component of XV as a separate blend anywhere from 15 to 51 months in barrel and bottled the wine in January 2020 for our 15th anniversary.

Extremely Limited. Only 55 cases made.

Tasting Notes and Reviews

This is one dramatic and powerful wine, which displays loads of dense red, blue and black fruits, with kaleidoscopic aromas and flavors of dried and fresh meats, spices and herbs. The wine is balanced by fantastic structure that is ripe and round enough to allow more immediate consumption while providing an upside of at least 20 years. The finish can be measured in minutes. Drinkable now for its sheer harmony, we suggest storing several away in a cold cellar to revisit in 2025, 2030 and so on. If drinking it soon, we suggest decanting for at least one or two hours.

The wine scored 97+ points from Jeb Dunnuck who said:

“More chocolate, blackcurrants, roasted herbs, ground pepper, and meaty notes emerge from this beauty. Dense and full-bodied, it needs 3-5 years of bottle age, but it should see its 20th birthday in fine form. It’s a powerful, meaty wine from this team.”

Antonio Galloni/Vinous gave the wine 95 points and stated:

“The MV Syrah XV is dense, rich and powerful. Red cherry/plum fruit are front and center in a Syrah built on textural depth and striking intensity. Time in the glass brings out striking aromatics that add presence. This is an especially lush style, but everything works so well together. Pomegranate, mint, cedar and sweet red cherry linger nicely on the persistent finish.”

How to Purchase

Clink the link below to order. Orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

$150 per 750 ml bottle
$320 for 1.5L magnums (signed, only 6 made).

About the Label/Artwork

The label is based upon:

by Scott André Campbell

Mixed media on paper on panel
26” x 32”

Scott is a long-time friend of Brandon, whose work came to fascinate us as we were deciding on a label for the wine. The production process and visual effect echo some of the themes we employed in creating this wine. The work involves blending (print, paint, collage) much like the XV which is created of various vineyards, grapes, and vintages. It is extremely layered and complex and his process of creating these requires time (lots of printing, cutting, layering, waiting for things to dry, etc.) The work is now hanging proudly in the Dragonette Cellars Study in Los Olivos. The former gallery in which it was shown (in Burlington Vermont) noted the work contains “an underlying structure to the vibrating layers.” We think the piece (and thus the label) provides great complexity of image and thought, as the eye turns the image over and over, looking for depth, angles, and structures. We hope the wine does the same for the taster as it evolves in the glass.

About the Artist

Artist Scott André Campbell is an artist and designer currently living in Burlington, VT. Campbell applies techniques and technologies traditionally favored by the graphic design world to his art making with a decidedly analog approach. Ardently taking ownership of all individual visual marks, Campbell digitally creates original graphic components that he integrates into his collaged surfaces through a series of physical actions including vinyl cutting, printing, silkscreening, and stenciling. Hand-drawn graphite perspective systems provide an underlying structure to the vibrating layers of color, line, and form, challenging the two-dimensional reality of his chosen mediums.

John, Steve, Brandon and the entire Dragonette Cellars team