Deep impenetrable black-ruby–glowing florescent purple at the rim–with heady eucalyptus upon first pour–a bit more than I am comfortable with. Decanted, generous air settles it down considerably: down into a range still noticeable, but its woody vegetal complimentary to the wine. Slightly under resides a coffee-syrup I can’t quite put my finger on: almond or butterscotch, not quite hazelnut or caramel, a sweet toasty nuance bumping toward rhubarb… and still the eucalyptus infiltrates everything gently, masking bright fruit suggestions: leaving only dark, dull cherry in subtle layering. A most-interesting version of the variety, bouncing around inside established parameters of the grape in California, but nudging the envelope a bit here and there. AS WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT from this tiny producer. Two barrels of this, which tells us barely a ton of fruit.
In the mouth, the eucalyptus influences entry and is still apparent over the middle. Rich, well-constructed raspberry and pithy cherry leave no guessing as to fruit-potential, salty-grapefruit and copious briary spice back up and restrain the body, molding it into a sharp, meaty, well-balanced elixir basking in a variety of California imprints: Sunshine, Old-Vine, Lodi, with both sandy-bottom and foothill meanderings around an unarguable Barossa feel. Nice bitter-thick berry sweet and full on the finish, overall dry angst easy to mistake for tannin. And still a touch of eucalyptus.
2020 SABELLI-FRISCH Syrah ‘Harris’ Knowles Vyd Mokelumne River Lodi California 14.0