This bottle provides one of those moments flying the face of Sea Smoke and Belle Glos and a bunch of RRV, SLH and even SRH pinots: you cram your nose into it and immediately exclaim, “This is PINOT!” Don’t think about that too hard… the 1% will get it instantly… take all the time you need. Seriously though: one of those ethereal bouquets so light on its feet while packing a concentrated wallop of funk and complex ire. Match-head and graphite run down rusted iron paths, the earth a churning stew of barnyard and fall leaves, the briar a silky green pepper tinged with cardamom and sage. The only thing screaming SYRAH is the color: a dark ruby edged with purple-blue.
Oh and… I almost never comment on labels but THIS is a gorgeous label. I adore labels like this. Simple. Outdated. Postage-stamp etching. Too many fonts. (type-faces for you purists). Label-goals in my book.
Tasting it checks far more boxes in the Syrah column than the nose, and for that I’m grateful. Thin, pointed, steely perfection encapsulates watery berry never bent on mind-boggling obfuscation or teeth-staining: a perfect-pitch of fruit and acid hand-in-hand, washing the mouth with fresh freedom from obtuse concentration, macerated drama, or extended-barrel dilemmas. The cheery berry rides high on barely-noticeable under-pinnings of green leaf and sweaty leather, a spicy black walnut darkness creating structural gravitas. This is Top-5 stuff right here. Don’t know anything about it, don’t think I’ve had this brand before, just a random shop-grab. I DIDN’T BUY IT FOR THE LABEL! (ok maybe a lil bit). This is pretty much how I wish every Syrah I open tasted.
2019 SAMUEL LOUIS SMITH Syrah ‘Sandstone Terrace’ Gali & Kayante Vyd Santa Cruz Mts 13.2