Alley Cat

Dense ruby with an abrupt edge, somewhat staining.  BIG funky nose, I mean… BIG GORGEOUS FUNK.  Luscious stuff, dirty-baby-diaper and barnyard and algae-pond directly pointed into oak and graphite and leather and grainy pomegranate, ripe and crisp, tainted overwhelmingly with sharp citrus minerality.  The funk burns deep and hard, hitting fresh and spore-ridden upon pour, and blowing off to come back around late-breathe in moist wind blowing over peaty hills.  A hint of alcohol has me guessing low 14’s, but it couples well with the tarry burnt layers in the nose.

A crazy experiment I picked up today in Salinas at a shop which sells a lot of smaller locals of the area.  Not a label I would typically pick up, but something spoke to me with the stupid cats on the front and here we are with a no-name San Benito gem that has already left an EXTREMELY favorable imprint on my brain.  This is like that Baker Syrah I had a while ago: a tiny wine, trapped in obscurity behind a dumb label, and the contents of the bottle are just flat-out BRILLIANT. And nobody believes you. This is very interesting Syrah, quite unlike the usual, but not crazily out-of-the-wheelhouse weird, especially if you are a St-Joseph or Crozes fan.  Fat enough to be Hermitage.  This needs a vigorous decant.

In the mouth, a bright black night envelopes all, beautiful fruit with edges of acid touch all points and a slight barnyard even encroaches on the mouthfeel–visible deep in the savory middle before the whole thing turns to a sheet of razor-ice-tannins, still and even, beautifully bitter, drying out the fruit but enlivening and enriching the memory thereof.  Jam and jelly and dirt floors and willow-blossoms and Mexican leather far into the finish as long as you can keep yourself out of another taste.

This is brillant stuff.

2011 ALICATS Syrah King Vineyard San Benito California 14.3


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