A Fat Fish By The Gills

Dark ruby with pink edges.  Non-staining.  Massive sweet oak and alcohol are the primary initial bouquets.  Bright fruit and somewhat contrived cassis and minerality dominate.  Edgy with mint and licorice but at the same time dead and lifeless.  A still-life concoction of unworldly nuances.  Not viscous or glycerin-ridden, despite the 17-5.  In reality:  I just can not find anything in this wine which reflects great Syrah.  Raw, room-temperature beef and crushed fennel on ACID.  And always the omnipresent burn of alcohol.  Yes, I made the mistake of looking at the label before tasting and saw the ABV–something I try hard not to do.  I like to think it would not have swayed my opinion either way.  Decanted for two hours.

In the mouth, startling alcohol burn starts early and maintains throughout the palate.  It dominates the entry, middle and sears long into the finish of what I can only hope is some ample tannins,.  You really can’t tell. The nose is FAR more attractive than the taste.  The nose actually has layered nuances while the mouth-feel is completely mono-syllabic and burning.  Massive MASSIVE oak evident in both early bouquet and finish.  Fat and rich and bearing the flavors of… I dunno… it has been so long since I lived near Amador and Calaveras and the entire Sierra Foothills appellation.  I somewhat have forgotten the descriptors for this very distinctive palate-feel.  Prune juice?  Oxidized Kool-aid?

And that burn.  Really, folks.  I would have guessed 16-5 maybe only because I felt no one would be stupid enough to put 17-5 on a label.  This thing is 40 proof or I’m a monkey’s uncle.  For pure sipping, this is not a dreadful wine.  It is definitely ripe but honestly somewhat thin in both color and nuance from what I would expect from something packaged with this much heat.  If you are going to make a wine like this, make it PANCAKE SYRUP.  I really could get behind this wine based on bouquet alone.  But then you taste it and the obesity really shines.  And I really like to find some tannin in my Syrahs.  Not just the everlasting forever alcohol finish.  There are going to be many fans of this wine.  Herman Story, Orin Swift, and Cypher people will be all OMGWOW!!!!!  Supremely unbalanced and lacking in everything which makes a great Syrah.

2010 MICHAEL GILL Syrah Big Rock Paso Robles 17.5

www.gillcellars.com

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