Massive, ripe and hot about covers this Syrah from Paso Robles. I am not among those who disdain high alcohol wines. They have their place. But this wine gives you about two seconds to explore aromas before the burn overwhelms.
The nose is quite pretty and complex underneath the alcohol. Nicely layered blackberry compote, cherry liqueur, fig and cardamom are set off by a thin layer of dark toast and smoke. The oak has been well handled.
The palate is a viscous, chocolate-infused berry bomb with enormous fruit power. It’s mouthcoating, smooth and elegant but tame and linear. Alcoholic bitterness and sweetness play a duet but as the fruit fades on the truncated finish, there is little acidity or tannin to come to the rescue—bitter plays the coda solo. The fruit has held up nicely for 12 years but the mouth ripping tannins of its youth have softened considerably. It reminds me of Saxum; no surprise as Justin Smith was a consultant on this project in the early days.
For fans of very ripe wines, the size and weight are impressive but exposed alcohol is an aesthetic flaw.
It’s like drinking a hymn. Somber, reverent, and lugubrious it matched the mood of Bach’s Passacaglia and fugue in C Minor
Technical Notes: Aged 22 months in French oak, 52% new.
Storage conditions: Excellent
Opened on 5/15/20