Medium translucent garnet with clear-pink edges soooo arguably tinged with a minuscule amber. Just an explosive nose right out of the gate–no funk, no nothing to air off–just straight up in your face the brightest eucalyptus, mint, cedar bonfire which gradually burns off into a thick cream-cheese-frosting over candy-canes resting on a slight banana peel with the perfect amount of abrasiveness balanced against rich sweet oak. I haven’t even tasted this yet. Even before tasting, this thing is definitely showing age, which I suppose should be a bit concerning at a mere 42 dog-years but what the hell it’s California and it’s Christmas so I am gonna say drink up and not let it bother me too much. I just can’t get past the nose. It’s like smelling a marvelous gin and Kahlua at the same time. OK, that sounds like a positively horrifying concoction, sorry. Trust me, this wine has an amazing bouquet. And…. you can certainly smell the age on it–even though there barely IS any age on it. In the mouth it is rich instantly and mouth-filling and velvety–sharp, bright–but pippy–fruit against a wonderfully mellow backdrop somewhat more typical of Syrah: petrol, wet paint and tarry leather. Over the middle, the thinnish fruit gives glimpse to actually how ripe it is–but only for a millisecond before the team of velvety tannin and blistering acid command full attention. They are a nice pair. This whole wine is a nice set of balancing acts. Everywhere you look, there is a pair of something see-sawing against each other, balancing and interacting and jostling for position–but oh so gently. Anyone who reads me knows I like my wines with a little age on them and this thing is drinking absolutely PERFECT right meow! And by perfect I mean early edge of perfect. I would give it a window of 3 or 4 more years of decent storage. There are many signs in this wine indicating much more that that might be a mistake. But oh my get some now and drink it and serve it. It is so balanced and lively and lovely and goes on and on in your mouth forever.
2008 CLENDENEN FAMILY VINEYARDS Syrah Rancho La Cuna Santa Barbara Co. 13.5