Smoke’em if ya Got’em

Fairly intensely perfumed, a vanilla outpost along a murky river. Greenbriar and anise make their presence known above thick concentrated fruit with a bit of an off note and considerable heat. On one hand it feels green and spicy enough to be Sonoma Coast, but on the other hand it feels like the ills of Paso dangle over it menacingly. Is this Ballard Canyon? Crazy ripe black cherry syrup, rotund inside the nose, with chunks of construed barnyard and peat livening things up nicely for large groups of wine drinkers who merely appreciate its massiveness but falling shy for someone looking for true finesse and balance. Considerable air brings the expected banana of chubbiness to the forefront, but a quick swirl roils it back down into the maelstrom of heat and match-head.

In the mouth, considerably more finesse initially, as cool fruit flows over the tongue, soothing and calming but immediately begins a heat-march dodging in and out of acidic barricades. Fruit strong and defiant throughout, but the shocking acid and hot-sauce vibe water it down past the middle into areas where, combined with the tannin, make you forget what you came here for.

Muddy and murky in the finish, teeth-wipingly harsh, I suppose it could settle down nicely with another 5 years under its belt. But for now it is just a bottle with a beautiful label you take to a party or open for Paso-people who will gush and rave. It is not a bad wine. I could sell END-CAPS of this stuff. Literally. It’s just: I know this flavor-profile and the people who buy it by the pallet. I need my Syrah a little geekier than this. I need my fruit to come from the top, not from the bottom. Even now–an hour in the glass–the fruit has gone amateur places plowed over by candy, oak, a sort of thinned amaretto and boiled egg. But don’t worry: it will NEVER last that long at a party.

2017 DUSTY NABOR WINES Syrah Ballard Canyon Santa Barbara Co. 15.0

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