Rhone from the Dark Ages

Thin and bright with pink edges.  An impressive nose of overripe strawberries and sawdust melding into a slight lovely burnt rubber.  Fairly apparent dairy-farm chicken-koop barnyard strain blows off with a bit of air.  Quite thin on entry and middle and considerably acidic.

I am a huge fan of the Pinot from this vineyard and have tasted it from several winemakers and was quite excited to try the Syrah.  Those familiar with my palate preference for low-AL/not-overly-extracted wines will wonder why I am somewhat poo-pooing this bottle, but seriously, even for me it is disappointingly thin and under-fruited.  If you are a fan of lighter Hermitage, Cote-Rotie or some of the lesser-extracted Cdp’s, this wine will show very well and would be an interesting side-by-side.  I just feel for a New-World Syrah–even a cooler-climate one like this vineyard–it deserves a tad more extraction and ‘oomph’.

Tannin is meager, really the whole experience is thwarted by the overt acidity and causes me to call this wine–even at it’s very young age–unbalanced.  I bought a couple of these from the winery and will enjoy them–as I am enjoying this one, despite the skirting of negativity–but only as a juxtaposition alongside locals of a ‘denser’ profile and texture.  It’s 12-8, which is nearly UNHEARD OF in this day-and-age, and refreshing to see such low AL on a label, but honestly: it suffers.  I can’t wait to taste this in a couple years.

2010 KENNETH VOLK Syrah Nielson Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Co. 12.8


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