Le Bon Larner

Impenetrable and staining.  Tiny clear edges.  A wallop of gameyness and then everything goes ripe.  Just. So. Ripe.  Rich, dark fruit, yes, but overwhelmingly viscous, sweet and alcoholic.  Grasping past all that, a nice vegetal and wet paper loaminess, but oh so hard to appreciate behind all… um… *THAT*.  I wish we could get a little extraction thermometer-scale on the label like hot-sauce so I would stop buying these.  There is a whole group down there who seem to be in a contest to make the ripest, most obese Syrah in SBco and I am over it.  Larner seems to be practically the Garys’ Vineyard of Syrah and Grenache these days, with it popping up on labels constantly.  I keep waiting to taste one with balance.  This isn’t a horrible wine, but a downright OPPRESSIVE bouquet makes me almost scared to taste it.  Really quite vibrant–considering the age and alcohol–with more lush, dripping blackberry preserves and a shocking briar streak marrying nicely with the fruit mid-palate until almost everything turns to lovely harsh tannin.  ALMOST everything.  Honestly, the original fruit note continues on completely noticeable high and loud across the finish–despite the heat.  I have seen these wines fall apart far sooner than 6 years, but this one–despite its Fatter-Than-You proclivities–seems to be doing fine.  It just isn’t my style NOW, probably wasn’t my style YOUNG, and I definitely wouldn’t bet on it keeping everything together for too much longer.  But find some and try it for yourself.  Not terribly expensive and if big syrupy reds are your thing, this manages enough balance to kinda pull it off.  14-9   ♦

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