Deep clear garnet with lighter edges. Heady alcoholic nose screams of rich spice and dusty earth with an initial rubber-band, algae-covered-mud-puddle touch which blows off into just pure rich fruit and alcohol. Extremely complex bouquet noting on cough syrup and wet newspaper. Lots of air dissipates some of those wonderful Syrah complexities into, like I said: massively concentrated dark red fruit, alcohol and incredible spice. Absolutely no sign of age anywhere on this almost-10 year-old bottle. Ripe and vibrant all through the nose and taste reflects more of the same. Intensely concentrated fruit-tincture peaking at a high note of lovely Cherry Nyquil and a sharp spot of, yes… more alcohol. 15.2 or go home. Fruit in the mouth is instantly overwhelmed by stunning acidity. All through, the fruit shines and shines–through the alcohol and the acid and even the drying tannins as they tag-team each other through the finish, competing desperately for the last nuance. No signs of polish AT ALL. Or, rather, if this is almost-decade-old polish WHAT on earth did this thing taste like on release?!?! Was it an alcoholic, fruit-forward, oaky muss?!? Would I have said that about it? It definitely has some AL, but it is easily the most held-together hi-AL wine I have tasted in quite some time. Reva and Lorraine of course instantly come to mind–being in a category or wines I feel suffer early from their extraction. But this one! Fruit for this comes from the nether-regions of the Santa Maria Valley AVA–Colson Canyon–waaaaaaay out in the boondocks off Tempesquet Road. This is a vineyard Tensley has sourced from to rack up a decent number of 93-96 scores with Syrah and Grenache. This wine is a shockingly fine number. I am sad about the ABV, but hey–I always let the wines speak for themselves in terms of balance before judging from a digit printed on a wine label. Even though I am the biggest complainer of hi-AL wines, I am first and foremost a believer in balance and let the wine–and winemaker–speak for themselves before harshing out at a number printed on a bottle. A tiny amount breathed out in the glass after typing this does show a TINY amount of polish and age… and still that steely flint and alcohol. But nothing pruney or even slightly maderized. These are the conversations we must have with our wines.
24hr Vac-U-Vin edit: Nose-hair curling AL and heady oak, followed by a distinct pruneyness but not really THAT far gone–just shockingly alcoholic and ripe.
2005 MCPRICE MEYERS Syrah Colson Canyon Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara 15.2