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casas del bosque syrahWild, explosive, and atmospheric,  this seething visceral chorale of blackberry, red plum,  roasted meat,  and black olive is on the jammy side but is rescued by some flinty minerality for aromatic contrast. With aeration, fennel and black pepper lend some nuance to the chorus.

The roasted meat and dark berry flavors are joined by licorice on the palate. A powerful wine, concentrated and full bodied up front, it accelerates quickly into the upper register with vibrant acidity pushing up floral notes, green olive, and tart red berries on the lengthy finish.

Well integrated tannins, grainy but not grippy anchor the mouthfeel on a lengthy, toasted wood-soaked finish. The wine acts like a warm climate wine up front and a cool climate wine at the backend.

This is a great bargain if you’re in the mood for a dense, oaked wine with plenty of life. Pair with Radiohead’s Optimistic

Technical Notes: The winemaker says it was aged for 6 mos. in second use French barrels. It tastes of more oak than this would suggest. From an award winning winery that produces about 90,000 cases annually mostly for export. Accessible to cool ocean breezes,  Valle de Casablanca is generally regarded as a cool region known for its crisp white wines. This Syrah is a unique expression from this region.

Score: 92

Price: $20 (Purchase info here)

Alc: 14%