This is a little wet & wild mid-tier cote-rotie beauty. Missing, of course, is the overt funky tapenade and barnyard these wines often exude at these ages and prices. Not completely missing–that would be boring–but there’s no argument a Santa Barbara Syrah at this level is going to have a cherubic zangy ripeness overshadowing some of the earth and vegetal, salinity and dark briar taking its place, and supported by a full complement of acid. At least in THIS version it is. Often–as most of you are aware–it is NOT, making a full flabby lush-fest for the TELL ME YOUR THRIVE STORY-crowd for to-the-rim bowl-grippers.
Vibrant and fruity in the nose, awash in firm cherry, green tea, and a steely sort of focus on rust and grease. Not too weedy or stemmy, this is not a super-complex wine, it’s not supposed to be. Mint and licorice waft in and out, along with perfect notes of oiled leather and smoky velvet. Firm and clean across the palate, this is a Wednesday-Thursday pounder–NOT that I or anyone in the wine 1 percent endorse or relish in week-day wines, but I’m preachin to a huge group of people here–many who shop for low-price, easy-drinking bottles for NO SPECIAL OCCASION, and THAT is the beauty of Dusty’s NSO line. Fruit on 11 and structure a solid set of pylons to be negotiated around, this wine makes you smile: start-to-finish.
Is there a better endorsement? There’s a million ways you can spend 20 bucks on a bottle of wine. It’s a tough category, the VAST majority simply-appellated and reeking of heavy-handed production and obese fruit. How you gonna beat a Santa Rita Hills beauty clean and direct?
2018 NSO by Dusty Nabor Syrah Santa Rita Hills Santa Barbara County California 14.5