Bright ruby with no tinges of the assumed 10YO patina. Heavy sediment. A plummy almost oxidized Zinfandel-ish nuance comes early and fast but blows off as quickly into a stretched latex and woodshop decadence. It’s all about cigar butts and rain on leaves bringing heavy mint into ripe round coalescence with jammy fruit and earth with a slight alcohol burn.
I have been visiting Swan for over two decades and honestly the Syrah is NOT the reason. Whenever I have someone to show around Russian River Valley and Sonoma, and they really want–or need–to experience true Sonoma values in Pinot, I take them to Swan. It is important to see what some producers strive at in regards to purity in Pinot and little has changed at Swan in the many years I have been visiting. Tasting room in a corner of the barrel room, and clear beauty in Pinot exemplified in all their bottlings–and the prices have not escalated at the same rate other local producers have. But we are not here to talk about the Pinot. Here we have an estate Syrah from RRV which bangs it out of the park and does so in classic Swan understated beauty.
In the mouth, bitter fruit slides in under the omnipresent nose, crisp and clean and saying barely anything about it being nearly ten years old. Brilliant and clean, peppery raspberry and wet leather singing an acidic song that grows and grows across the palate, crescendoing in heat and spice. There is some heat boosting the pepper finish, clearly telling of a hi-octane bottling, but the balance never fails. Full and rich, chewingly tannic, without a TOUCH of patina, this wine is good for another ten years easy.
Go for the Pinot and Zinfandel, stay for the Syrah.
2008 JOSEPH SWAN VINEYARDS Syrah Trenton Russian River Valley Sonoma Co. 15.0