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berthoudI have great respect for wineries that hold back release dates until the wine is ready and that pour aged wines in their tasting rooms. It’s not economical to do this; it usually shows an over-riding commitment to quality. Last year when I wandered into the tasting room at Mayo Family Winery in Sonoma, they were pouring wines from their winemaker, Mike Berthoud’s, own boutique operation. While I enjoyed Mayo Family’s wines I was knocked out by the Berthoud offerings including this Syrah. They produce only 74 cases of this

The word “ecstasy” often means joyful excitement but there is an older use of the term more directly related to its origins in the Greek word “ekstasis” which means to stand outside oneself in a trancelike state. This wine is quiet ecstasy, tender but uplifting, too spirited to be serene yet perfectly composed as if nothing could disturb it.

Aromas of blueberry, cumin, dusty earth, old books, and especially crushed rock meld together in tight formation. The palate is fresh and vibrant with a red berry component, yet all rough edges have been ground away leaving a ravishing elegance. The lush opening survives as a cashmere-like softness in the tannins that persists as a seam of minerality slowly takes flight, pushed by glowing acidity that never bites becoming pointed and high toned on the finish. That minerality becomes the wines’ leitmotif—as if a rock could caress.

The relatively low alcohol, and vibrant acidity make the case that wines of restraint and balance age best. This is lovely old world winemaking in the new world.

Pairs with music that has a lyrical sensuality, quietly joyful, such as Ravel’s Sonatine rendered here by Kun-Woo Paik.

Score: 93

Price: $45 (Purchase Here)

Alc: 13.8%

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