2012 Paso Robles "James Berry Vineyard" Syrah
Ahhhh… James Berry Vineyard! Clearly one of the all time great Rhône variety vineyards of California. Thanks to recent cave construction on the property, I had the good fortune to get a cross-sectional view of the soil below the surface. Flakey layers of calcareous shale one to two inches thick were stacked upon each other at a 50 degree angle. Basically, you could see the sedimentary layers of ocean floor that had been heaved upward in what must have been an incredibly violent event. Further proof of the soil’s ocean origins could be found in the numerous whale fossils in the piles of spoils. Skulls, vertebrae, ribs… You name it! Also fascinating to see were the roots from trees above traveling between the layers of shale in search of water. I have a whole new appreciation for James Berry Vineyard. And the wine? Awesome as usual! Picked October 10th. Indigenous fermentation. Twenty-five days on the skins. A very modest 25% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered.
Black neon-purple. A concentrated, forceful nose of blackberry, cassis, and cream with a suggestion of spring flowers such as lily and hyacinth. The wine enters full and rich as dark berry fruit quickly takes center stage. While no shy wallflower, a wine of impeccable balance. Tannins from mid-palate through the finish (no doubt a result of the incredible tiny berry size in 2012) indicate a very long life ahead. Enjoy from 2019 through 2030. (MRO – 07/31/14)