Agatha Christie

Impenetrable ruby with almost no edge, staining the glass slightly brick.  Huge tertiary bouquet explodes out of the glass even while pouring, dense olives, raw beef, ripe banana, chalk and earth with the fattest layer of wet-leather frosting you’ve ever seen.  Still and calm and jam-packed with decadent fruit, I could smell this all night.

The funny thing is… Regular readers of my notes know how often I lash out against hi-alcohol wines and their LACK of aging potential.  “Hi-alc wines don’t age”, boys and girls–plain and simple.  Regular readers will also know I NEVER look at the alcohol on a label before forming an opinion (except Zinfandel!).  Well, this one is an exception because the alcohol is printed in quite large font directly on the rather sparse front label front-and-center and I couldn’t HELP but notice it as I was pulling it from the shelf.  So I knew this was a ten-year-old 15-5 GOING IN!  I was expected to be disappointed.  I just tasted an alleged ‘cool climate’ syrah maybe an hour ago which had over a FULL POINT less alcohol in it and my nose-hairs are STILL burning.  This thing, while definitely ripe and naturally rubenesque, carries its volatility with grace and elegance.

In the mouth, bright, crisp and remarkably thin for something smelling of such concentration.  I’m not saying it is light–by no means–but there is a clarity to the mouthfeel, a mineralific thin-ness, a razor focus, which would leave me guessing the proof probably in the hi-13’s and nowhere NEAR mid-or-better 15’s.  And still that nose goes on and on before every sip, and the ridiculous acidity, green briar and fierce dry tannins toy playfully with bright plummy fruit and a smidgen of patina.

If I had to blind this, I could see myself going “Sonoma Coast… maybe Mendocino? and 13-7” and I would be WRONG, so wrong.  This is a brilliant wine, and one of those treasures Last Bottle Wines digs up somehow.

2007 AGHARTA Syrah Sonoma County 15.5

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