Overview of the Wine
In 1998 Joey Tensley launched Tensley Wines with one hundred cases and one single goal – to start a well-priced, Syrah-driven brand that let the unique vineyards of Santa Barbara County speak for themselves.
Joey’s first experience with wine took place when he was just twelve-years-old and his soccer team toured a winery while taking part in a tournament in France. Joey vividly recalls the chill of the old caves and the aromas of wines fermenting in barrel. From that moment on he knew he wanted to be a winemaker. “Which pretty much made me the only kid in Bakersfield with that particular dream,” Joey says.
Ten years later, in 1993, Joey got his start in the wine business working as a “cellar rat” for Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara County. After only three years he became the assistant winemaker at Babcock Vineyards. While there Joey came to appreciate the importance of the vineyard and the grower. He also came to appreciate the uniqueness of Santa Barbara County as a growing region. “We’re one of the only places in the world with a mountain range that runs east-west. That gives us many different, unique microclimates, so a Syrah grown in one place is so different from a Syrah grown in another. It’s an exciting place to make wine.”
In 1998 Joey moved on to become the assistant winemaker at Beckmen Vineyards where he was offered space to make his own label. At Beckmen he developed his love for Rhône varietals and decided Tensley would produce only Rhône varietals and only source from Santa Barbara County.
The wine press began taking notice of Tensley in 2001. That year Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator named two of Tensley’s 2001 Syrah’s to his list of the Top Ten Wines in the World and Robert Parker scored all the ‘01’s in the high 90’s, calling them “serious, hand-crafted efforts.”
More recently Tensley has received high praise and high scores from wine critics such as Josh Raynolds, James Laube, and Jeb Dunnuck. Dunnuck gave Tensley’s 2008 Syrah Noir 99 points and named Joey, “one of the rising superstars in California.”
Grape / Blend
Syrah and Petite Sirah, plus small portions of Mourvèdre, Grenache & Viognier
Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Tensley Fundamental Red Blend consists of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Syrah and splash of Viognier. It is full of character and offers rich notes of blue and red berries. It is medium to full-bodied with enough fruit and complexity.
Past Review: 2019 Fundamental Red (91 points, Jeb Dunnuck)
Syrah is the rock of this complex blend, bringing weight and color, but in 2019 Grenache also became a star as we added more than ever before to lift the floral notes in the nose and bring a bright, garnet hue to the color. We once again added Mourvedre to bring an earthy, savory aspect to the dance, and, of course, Viognier to keep exotic notes of honeysuckle and tropical fruits in play. This wine is both intense and light on its feet, offering freshness and lift as well as deep notes of blackberry, currants, bacon, and espresso, At its price point, it can easily out-value any wine in its category. This red blend pairs easily with any dish from fish to red meat. It can be enjoyed now or easily age over the next 8 to 9 years.
Product size: 750ml