2013 Paso Robles "James Berry Vineyard" Syrah
I’m not sure I could come up with any more superlatives for this California grand cru vineyard, impeccably farmed by rock star winemaker and grower Justin Smith. I count my blessings that Justin is willing to sell us a bit of fruit every year. Picked October 1st, the clusters and berries were the smallest I have ever seen, even smaller than Pinot noir. Heck, I’ve seen second crop clusters bigger than these! The fruit was divided into two lots and fermented with different yeasts to increase complexity in the final blend. On the skins for 21 days, the wine was pressed to all French oak. Gently fined with two egg whites per barrel but bottled unfiltered.
Opaque black-purple. Notes of cassis, blackberry, graphite, and spring flowers on the nose. While certainly compelling now, there’s a sense that the wine isn’t revealing its full hand yet. The wine enters full and rich with flavors of blackberry, loamy earth, and smoked meats. Obviously no shy wallflower but the balance is spot-on. Alcohol, tannin, fruit, and acid combine to produce a seamless experience on the palate. This will age well. Give it a couple more years in bottle and then drink from mid-2017 through 2028. (MRO – 07/18/15)