And on the Third Day, God said Syrahs Should be 13-5

Remember this one?  Mondavi-Byron joint-venture with fruit sourced from a couple places–I would bet good money the Syrah in this wine came from Stolpman and the Grenache and Mourvedre from Byron Nielson.  This stuff approached 50$ a bottle and I remember being fairly blown away by both the price and the quality when I first tasted them at the little Byron tasting room (now Kenneth Volk) in 2000 or so.  Not sure who the ‘official’ winemaker was, but most likely Kenneth Volk with heavy consultation from someone high up in the Mondavi chain-of-command.  This one is clear dark ruby with heavy sediment and slightly bricking edges.  Funky initial turns into a deep gamey fruit–venison or boar sausages roasting with beans–maybe lentils.  A stew.  This wine reminds me of a hearty stew of lentils and little blood saucissons with carrots and celery, fennel and nutmeg.  Mouth-feel is thinning out considerably and, as I have the better-part of a case of these, I think I will start drinking them in earnest.  I just do not think anything much greater can come from them than what they present currently.  The nose is the best part of the wine.  Fruit is thin, and the briar, spice and earthiness take center stage in the mouth.  Acid has all but disappeared–if there ever was any–and tannin of a still-virile nature wrap things up.  Don’t get me wrong:  This is not a terrible wine.  It is quite lovely to drink and the history makes it more interesting.  It is polished and supple and has many amazing things going on in it…. it’s… just… there’s very little FRUIT.  I will most likely open another of these in the near term to determine if this bottle is an anomaly, and if it is not, the rest of this case is going into heavy rotation or for sale to drink NOW.  Somewhat disappointing, as a 50$ Syrah really should have another decade in it.  I sincerely hope this bottle is an outlier.  14-8 boys and girls.  I know you get sick of me ranting about hi-AL wines and their inability to age, but there ya go, front and center.  A fifty-dollar Rhone with an amazing pedigree and stellar provenance fading right before your eyes and not even 10 years old.  Sermon over.   ♦

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