The absolute FRESHNESS of this wine astounds me. Sure, we have Sonoma Coast versions of this variety glowing with stemmy vibrancy and fruit, but this is different. Gone are the Sierra Foothill stereotypes of over-ripeness and burnt nuance a la Amador and other hot versions, Here, we have an almost *green-wine* exuberance of spirit and angst making me check the label that it wasn’t a 2019 or something. No, it’s a calm 17, steadfastly focused on what it wants to be. And in this case, pure brilliance.
Un-haltering berry in the nose, no obfuscation with barrel-programme or tedious concentration. Delicious and killing it absolutely in all ways PURE Syrah. Raunchy acidity flows freely over the tongue, telling you of a wine astounding to drink RIGHT NOW but will age to perfection with a few years under its belt. The blackberry and briar do not rely on stand-a-fork-up-in-it syrup and vanilla oak as many do, it falls back on merely a pureness of chalky fruit and volcanic beauty to get its point across.
“Syrah” is not the first thing I think of when I pigeon-hole Sierra Foothill wines, but they have done a masterful job here. This would be a fun bottle to blind alongside any of the place-marks of Syrah far across the valley to the West and North. Grabbing at you at every point, decidedly correct at each turn, rich berry compulsing every moment, crazy abrasion on each comma, finally settling down into a tannic situation teeth-wiping and solidifying.
It’s hard to imagine a more-perfect Syrah. This thing is telling it like it is. Which will be hard for a lot of people blinged out on Sine Qua Non and Herman Story and the also-rans of Santa Barbara County and the Paso-Rhone establishment to grasp, but this is where this variety needs to be.
2017 LAVA CAP Syrah El Dorado AVA Sierra Foothills California 14.8