Far and away the thinnest SY/Gren I have seen from this region. Thin like 8$ Cote-Rotie’s and 5$ Cotes du Rhones. Completely transparent and barely ruby. Wide, clear edges. Large, gamey, raw-meat nose with some briar and cellar-floor. A touch of dusty earth.
I have always said Pinot Noir producers make the best Syrah, but this one seems to be a bit of an outlier. Perhaps for the Price-Point (about HALF the price of this producer’s PN’s) it is meant to be an afternoon quaffer and not a serious contender in the SY/Gren game. It is not for me to surmise the intent–I just have the bottle in front of me. Fans of this blog will recall my lashing out at PN which tries to be SY–huge, heady, thick, and briary. Well, I never dreamed I would say it, but this is the most Pinot-ey of a Syrah I have ever had. Seriously, blind: I would peg it for PN–and not a very expensive one.
I am guessing the 67% Grenache component in this wine was of the full, watery fruity sort, and the SY is the only thing holding down the fort. Meager and light in the mouth, with ample bright granny smith acidity and a wash of decent oak-aging. Medium tannins bring up the rear in nice, bright fashion. Reminds me of a good Italian ‘Cucina-Mista’–meant to be served slightly chilled on hot days with hearty finger-food. I hope this was the intent of the winemaker, because if he was shooting for intensity and depth, we missed considerably. Serve this as Rosé at a festival in Paso and people would swoon. It’s THAT light–errrr–I mean: Paso rosé is that terrible. Wait. That came out all wrong.
It is sounding like I do not like this wine because I am comparing it to others’ failed styles. Let’s start over. This is a great wine. It is just shockingly thin. Maybe I should google Axis Mundi. Maybe it means “thin and light”. I’m not a shaman, but my third-grade Latin tells me ‘Center of the World’. This wine has great terrior and balance and verve–it’s just: Don’t open this expecting a bruiser, staining Rhone like the black label and obscure title-reference alleges to.
2011 AXIS MUNDI Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 13.7
Next Day Addendum (Vac-U-Vin’d): Even shockingly more pinot-like. Quite nice. This is the recipe for Pinot Noir: Take a bunch of thin grenache and blend in a tad of quality Syrah. Bingo.