The Hillside is Alive With The Sound of Music

Beautiful bright ruby, reasonably non-staining, out to thin clear edges.  Well-placed funk initial turns to exquisite explosive nose of amaretto and mint.  Heaps of briar, eucalyptus and barnyard with a soft oak and cellar-concrete minerality.  The ripe roundness and heady vegetal on this one just begs to be smelled again and again.  You just CAN’T take your nose out of it.  A slight alcohol sharpens the layers of funky harmony.  In the mouth, considerably thinner than expectations from bouquet dictate.  Bright acid pops everything into perspective almost immediately.  Not as much tar or tobacco as the other high-end offerings from this producer–sticking more to a fuller, round, crowd-pleasing ripe-cherry mouthfeel.  Tannin of medium-density fades the whole package into slightly bitter territory with barely any of the polish one would expect from a Syrah at 7 years old.  This is a solid, solid wine, balanced and wonderful–several steps up from the standard Bien Nacido offering but falls somewhat short in the mouth from the “Sonny’s” and Block X labels.  Still, probably the finest Syrah at the 30-dollar PP.  2007  13-5   ♦♦

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