THE BIG PICTURE
This wine was gifted to me by my friend Connor Clark for my Birthday some years ago. It was personally made by him when he dabbled in winemaking while working for a winery in Central Coast CA. I have been holding on to it for several reasons: Foremost because since he gifted me two, I wanted to correctly assess them apart a few years. On the other, I thought it would be exciting to experience its evolution if it was capable of aging. Lastly, he made only a small batch, and sadly I knew I wouldn’t be able to relish in the likes of it again once it passed my lips. I suppose a part of me wanted to share it with other friends. However, I couldn’t wait any longer!
I am somewhat nervous about a personal review since Connor had been a significant mentor within my past WSET studies. One of the funniest examples was when we were studying Spain together for an exam, specifically, Priorat on the Northeastern side. He was quizzing me about the region and to name a producer. I began on track by explaining the region and soils. I then finally mentioned pioneer Alvaro Palacios, but then went on to rattle off that he rediscovered the Mencia grape In the far Northwest of Spain in Bierzo. I even went into the whole entomology of it. He looked at me crosseyed and I quote him: “What the hell does that have to do with Priorat, Constancia learn to stay in your lane and just stick to the point!” Today we have a very memorable internal joke about the Mencia grape from Bierzo rediscovered by Alvaro Palacios. I guess I haven’t learned a damn thing because what does this point have to do with the review? NOTHING! I just wanted to share how much respect I have for this intelligent and debonair man.
I’d like to preface before I showcase the wine, this wine was made from one of the oldest, and historically prolific vineyards in Central Coast, CA. In 1969 brothers Bob and Steve Miller saw a vision to establish a vineyard that can stand up to the best in the world. They also wanted to pay homage to the centennial of their family’s farming roots that began in the 1800s, WOW!
This vineyard has been an example to students of the trade, producers, and reference by accredited examiners worldwide, including my scholarship, WSET. Let’s put it this way the vineyards can be equated to the best vineyard in Hermitage, Les Bessards. It’s even been described as a form of “Grand Cru of California”. We never use that terminology, but California Bien Nacido Vineyards thank you.
HERE’S TO MY FRIEND, FOLLOWING THE WSET LEXICON
Clear, deep ruby, with opaque core, slow but no staining of tears
Pronounced intensity, primary baked black fruit ( blackberries, black plum, blueberries) herbs, (mint and dill) spices ( juniper, red licorice), Secondary (paint thinner, coconut toasted oak, smoke) Tertiary ( wet leather, tobacco, farmyard). The wine is developing.
Dry, medium-acid, medium ripe tannin, high alcohol, full-body, pronounced intensity, Primary black fruit, herbal, and oaky. Secondary flavors of (cedar, smoke, and baking spices). Tertiary ( game, leather, dried prune. Silky texture, medium+ finish.
This is a solid good wine. It has a nice concentration of ripe fruits with evolving aromas of game, leather integrated with a strong dose of toasted coconut. Once it was opened the volatile aromas dissipated. It’s bright on ripe baked fruit, bold on the mid-palate, yet the finish falls a slight short on the finish. The coconut overwhelms the elegant nuance acid that Syrah can express. However, It’s 7 years old already and I’m going to hold the second bottle for another 3 years. I don’t anticipate it will evolve much longer than that. In fact, as I had the bottle open over the course of 3hours, it was getting tiring. One geek out observation was when I popped the cork, it was super moist and inky and had a bit of sediment at the base, I love that!
THE CLOSING CURTAIN
It’s no Cote Rotie but a proud solid Santa Maria, Syrah from California’s Bien Nacido Vineyards. I look forward to the next three years to assess the generous gift of your heart and soul. Perhaps we can meet somewhere in the world with my Babito and your Babito Daniel, and assess the second one. I thank you Connor for the honor of being my friend and the influence you have made on me!…. Sorry for the earlier segway for my readers… MENCIA!!!!!!!!
Hope you enjoyed my review, please comment below Love your feedback.
Thank you and remember Taste Small Live Big!
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