Whenever this vineyard pops up on a label, I lunge for it. I have an opinion I have voiced numerous times, one which my friends at Presqu’ile–who make lovely wines, BTW–are probably not too keen about, and that is: The best wines from Presqu’ile are not made by Presqu’ile. Merely my opinion, but if you came here for popular opinions, you’re on the wrong blog. This wine stokes that fire a bit. Black and dense, nearly impenetrable even in shallow pours, it’s a BIG wine. But not *big* in Paso or Ballard Canyon or Napa Cab ways: when you smell and taste deep inside, it carries the sort of quirky elegances and issues more akin to Sonoma Coast or Mendocino versions of this variety. The chalky nose wafts distinct meatiness, floral and ridiculous weedy briar calmly exposing itself between bookends of cherry and concentrated August blackberry. Thick and leathery, savory piss and sweat coating the raw beef and wet newsprint petrichor. So wonderful to smell and smell… swirl and smell again: one of those wines you almost don’t need to drink.
But drink it you must, and the complex density it deposits into your pores solidifies opinions of powerful beauty. Big and dense as it is, I don’t feel it particularly hi-alc: again a nod to coastal climes much farther North in California. Cutting through the layers of flavor is nearly a chore: plentiful acid peppering the job with near obfuscation. Despite a no-holds-barred approach, it’s actually quite delicate: cherry of the pie-tart variety, with nectarine and green apricot crunching things up. Dirrrrrty mire assures the fruitiness will never go cloying, and the middle exposes inner-tube air and light herbaceousness: NOTHING sweet or obese and alcohol firmly in check. The finish screams of infantile abrasion: it is positively CRIMINAL to drink this wine at this age. I don’t even know how old it IS–no, I don’t read labels before writing–but if it’s older than 2 or 3 I would be shocked and it has DECADES to go. Likewise, guessing the alcohol under 14-5, but it doesn’t have the markings of something in the 13’s.
A stupidly good Syrah, and if you’re into PAX or Yorkville Highlands or Dehlinger or Alder Springs, you NEED this wine. Priced about HALF of most of those mentions as well. FIND THIS WINE. Buy 2 cases, drink one a year.
2016 PRESS GANG CELLARS Syrah Presqu’ile Vyd. Santa Maria Valley 14.2