Dark beautiful ruby, absolutely no brick. Initial barnyard beauty slowly erodes in the face of ridiculous chocolate, dense sweaty leather, salted fish, wet bark and columns of dark, rich cherry. Oh dear Dog is this wine gorgeous.
Purchased last week FROM WINERY CELLAR so perfect provenance. Part of the sell-off of old stock the brand is gently laying on the public for the transition from Bob Lindquist to Vintage Wine Estates. I attended the last sale and this 2010 Hillside was my standout of probably 50 wines tasted from simple Central Coast stuff through Alisos and everything all the way to Hillside and Sonnie’s. I’ve gone back and forth between the Bien Nacido and Edna Valley bottlings many times in the past couple decades, never settling on which one I like better. But this past showing, the Hillside took home all the medals and I think I bought close to a case (among WAY too many other things).
Oh and then you taste it, right about when all the tertiary and funk have been replaced by just straight dessert fruit nectar. NOT SO FAST: a fresh swirl brings all the bite and holler right back up into the nose–green and briary, conifer sap and high-mountain water, a pendulum of dank straw and sharp vanilla. I could smell this wine all day. Oh but then you taste it. Tense and rigid, rocky minerality snaps crisply over the knee of sunny fruit. Fruit demure in the corners, not dancing immediately out into the spotlight, but making you think about it–Is it fading? Is it thin? Is it tired?–but all temptations to that end are dashed by the mountainous ice-cream-cone of blackberry and cranberry dumped in your face, parting all acid and tannin pre-cursors for an eternity before they close back in around it, rich dark jasmine and rose riding a gunpowder-tea wave forever and ever.
This is a wine dreams are made of. Or dreams are made of this wine? I don’t know–just shut up and savor it.
2010 QUPE Syrah ‘Hillside’ Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley San Luis Obispo County 13.5