Crazy florescent purple with the clear edge *just* starting to develop some budding ruby. Big barnyardy nose, massive chunks of horse-stall and curry-comb and chicken-coop watering trough, just GLORIOUS dank earth and briar and funk headed into Pinot territory but the fruit glances it off in a decidedly Syrah direction. This is not a “Good pinot smelleth of shit” sort of barnyard, this is syrah all the way, baby: the intense briar running topless and free–the fruit underneath a fresh glaring boysenberry, rose-hip and redwood-pitch, summer droplets on red dust, the sweltering calm flash of conifer in August and right underneath it Sunkist Grape. Fresh swirls pull ridiculous briar out of calm air, turning out even more fruit in directions your rarely see in California syrah and basically never in Napa Valley. Decanted vigorously.
For years, Mike Dunn’s RETRO has been the de-facto Petite Sirah capitol of California. It literally can not be topped. And now we are branching off into other areas. For me, this is a fascinating situation, just like TV sitcoms and crime drama pieces, where people get typecast. That woman can only play the lipstick floozy. That dude can only play the acne-pitted troubled soul. Wine is the same way for me. One whiff of this tells me what I already knew: that any variety Mr. Dunn works with will be worth looking at seriously.
Tasting it reflects the aching tension in the nose. Tasting it is actually the hard part, as you CAN NOT STOP SMELLING THIS WINE. I pick it up and put it down. I pick it up and put it down. Each time forgetting to drink it as waves of bouquet wash on and on. Clean bright cherry. Pie cherry. Dark cherry. Cherry pit. Cherry Bonnie Bell. Cordial cherry. The liqueur of it slowly creeps back around from the acidic dispersion notice, trickling is warm puddles down the throat while the edges burn. Shockingly tannic, but where the ripe sweet fruit hits the red lava and the trees moan their approval, an absolute shrill perfection happens. Chewy, fruity perfection.
Dunn really pulled out all the stops on this one. Easily one of the finest examples of the grape in California and a 20-year wine EASILY.
2016 RETRO CELLARS Syrah Howell Mt. Napa Valley 14.9