Spirits in a Material World

Deep ruby, absolutely abrupt edge, and quite glass-staining. Big meaty dark chocolate fondue, beautiful leather and tobacco and Maraschino tertiary saturated with the blackest of cherry. See, now book-somm’s gonna jump all over me for that one because–you know: a three-year-old wine can’t have tertiary, but there it is: rich and starting to polish, blind I’d guess several more years than the label indicates. It is not oxidized or tired, oh no not in the least: there’s a green-ness to the nose alongside the slight vegetal and barnyard anchoring it in earthiness but you have to look hard for it behind the lush fruit and heavenly anise and cassis. It’s a gorgeous smelling wine and whether the winemaker wants to view my perception of patina as a fault at this age or welcome it as the possible intention is up to them. Late-breathing sees a lot of the well-oiled warmth replaced by more of the green, crisp, acidic notes–still high on fruit, though.

I don’t know what this is–I originally thought Syrah, but I’m re-thinking that and possibly headed toward Merlot. And if it is Merlot, it’s a damn good one, and it HAS to have some cab in it or PV or something.

In the mouth, decadent fruit comes on hard and strong, painting everything with the garnet of bruised cherry and plum-skins. Almost immediately, the bitter prod of tannin start their green-briar meddlings on the sides of your tongue, making the luxury of all that blackberry and Comstock Pie Filling become even headier as it takes on a granite-lined, peach-pit reality and heads into the finish. Not in recent memory have I experienced a more yin-yang ballet of finish qualities: tannins green and shrill giving soft-hand reach-arounds to the chubby fruit far into the credits.

I’ve had a lot of wines from this label and I have to be honest I’ve liked them all but have never been blown away by any of them. Until now. I still have no idea what this is and my blind perceptions are floundering. It can’t be Mourvedre, but I still keep heading back in a Rhone-direction. I’m going to guess a nice low mid-13’s on the alcohol and if it IS Syrah, it’s got something else in it, and I am out of ideas. Something chocolat-ey and green.

Knowing this label, there’s not very much of it; and knowing the winemaker, fruit-provenance will vary from excellent-to-unicorn in the Santa Maria Valley. Find some of it.

2015 BEVELA WINES ‘Unforseen Alchemy’ Red Wine Santa Barbara County 13.5


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