WARNING: Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol.
My favorite quality of Syrah is its unique way of self-expressing based on its environment and the sheer variations you encounter from just one variety of grape. 2018 was a markedly cool and wet vintage for much of California, producing wines that were clear outliers for what we would call “typical.” Syrah from our temperate pocket of Paso Robles found itself expressing in a way that you expect from a cool-climate region, such as Santa Maria Valley or the Santa Rita Hills.
Smokey and woody jumps out first, with chargrilled steak providing savory support to an otherwise earthy first glance. Bramble and reduced blueberry offer up an attempt at warm climate expression but quickly evolves into blackberry pie and vanilla flavored cigar that lead you right back to a backdrop of charred oak and sweet anise. The wine proceeds on the palate with an immediate pop of acidity on the entry that flashes cranberry and cherry cola around a dark chocolate exterior. Textured evenly with a moderate weight, the tannin is a conundrum of typical silky-smooth edges but a tense and tactile core that drinks more like Northern Rhône than a Southern. Pomegranate seed and fresh plum releases from the center of the wine, while the finish brings flavors of smoked brisket, allspice, and black pepper.