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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Rhône-Style Red from a California Leader

Alban Pandora Seymour’s Vineyard Edna Valley 2003

James Laube
Posted: December 7, 2009

I uncorked a 2003 Alban red from Seymour’s Vineyard a few nights ago at Press in St. Helena with friends, one of whose father was named Seymour. That brought a little something special to the wine as California vintner John Alban named the wine after his own father, who introduced him to wine.

This wine, grown in the Central Coast’s Edna Valley appellation, says “Pandora” on the front label and doesn’t indicate a grape variety (unlike Alban’s Syrah bottling from Seymour's). We correctly guessed it was Grenache but learned it’s also blended with 40 percent Syrah. The wine has held on to its bright, rich, pure berry flavors; I could still taste the wonderful huckleberry and boysenberry flavors so evident of youth. It’s now quite elegant, graceful, refined and still impeccably balanced and exciting to drink. 97 points, non-blind, even better than the first time around.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Alban Pandora Seymour’s Vineyard Edna Valley 2003 (94 points, $85).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more Grenache- and Syrah-based wines from California.

John Pruess
Oakland, CA —  December 7, 2009 2:47pm ET
Great news as I love Alban's wines.

Given the youth of the flavors, are you sticking to your 2011 estimate for cellaring?

Don R Wagner
Illinois —  December 9, 2009 7:17am ET
Hi...I too find that nearly all of John Alban's reds are considerably more elegant and refined with some bottle age. I am very familiar with his Seymour, Lorraine & Reva labels and in the case of the 01 Seymour, it has gone from a "homecoming queen" to a "Ms. Universe"! I recommend following the evolution of the 03 Reva, which Jim was "spot-on" in his rating -- it is now near perfect for a "New World" red wine. It's great to see that Alban continues to be recognized for the superior quality & consistency of their wines -- they are truly one of "elite" California producers. Cheers to "Scruffy"! DRW
James Laube
Napa, CA —  December 14, 2009 1:22pm ET
John, given how well the wine showed, it drinks well now and should hold into 2016 or so, depending on storage conditions. But it will be a different wine in terms of flavor and maturity.

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