The Volcano Abides

Gorgeous color–still dark ruby not bricking in the slightest, light sediment and a nose running burnt rubber and hot rocks over a baseline of Maraschino, bruised raspberry, and barley malt. This thing is gorgeous, bright and tight with some nice vegetal, astro-turf and cinnamon roll, it definitely has some tertiary but it’s not running all tobacco and leather in the slightest.

10 year old hand labeled Syrah grown in stupidly sparse dark red lava-filled volcanic soil at almost 3000 feet under the watchful eye of Mount Lassen. Many years before the Manton Valley AVA was granted. There’s 4 or 5 wineries up there and if you do manage to find yourself in this area by all means get an appointment with Alain Teutschmann and his thick accent and tiny winery in the middle of his vineyard. But be sure and budget yourself a couple of hours because it’s not a place you’re going to get out of quickly.

Manton got its start in the wine-business in the early 1970’s as the micro-climate was discovered and large contract-vineyards were established with Napa and Sonoma.  As the area’s ability to grow amazing fruit became fact, several small wineries sprung up alongside.  The contracts to major producers down south eventually dried up, but the vineyards remain, and the area recently won its Manton Valley AVA.

In the mouth, holy shit it’s just flat-out straight pie cherry and acid. Big gobs of ridiculously tight fruit, not a hair of candy or aging. No fruit fading against tired nuances–no–everything is gorgeously jam-packed, deftly bitter, honed to a razor’s edge and the big naked cherry and blackberry cruise through uninhibited.

Wow. Glad I have a few more of these. I’m not going to tell you what they cost.

2009 MT TEHAMA WINERY Shiraz Syrah Manton Valley AVA Tehama County Sierra Foothills California 13.2

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