I’m know I’m out of season, which is not unusual for me. I suspect most people are stocking up on rosé or Sauvignon Blanc in anticipation of warm summer evenings on the veranda. But I’m opening a wine that can best be described as autumnal. An autumnal wine is dark and complex with plenty of weight and body like the clothes you wear to ward off the chill, something you sip while curling up with a good novel as the rain pummels the roof and the wind wails. Such wines get their character from oak that supplies the toasty flavors we associate with fireplaces or wood stoves.
This recently released Syrah, made from estate-grown grapes, fits that description. Fig, a little white pepper, and lots of pencil lead and vanilla enclose the scent of wet autumn leaves—a very complex nose that reveals a different aspect every time you sniff it and repays exploration. More typical berry notes grace the palate with coffee holding down the mid-palate and a robust, persistent finish. Concentrated, but despite being big and ripe, there is nothing in excess here. Sturdy and taut without an ounce of flab, a very well structured wine,with medium-grain tannins, textured but not grippy.
Oak gets a bad rap these days because of some of the clumsy, ponderous wines to come on the market in recent years. But the oak here is deftly applied and focused.
Although chill evenings by the fire are months away, if you need a wine to stand up to hefty grilled meats this summer, this one will serve nicely.
Very small production, available at their tasting room in Ramona and at selected shops in San Diego. When you visit the tasting room you get the added bonus of tasting their very fine Petite Sirah and Cabernet as well.