Le Chat Noir

THE most ridiculous purple-blue you’ve ever seen in this variety–and I LOVE seeing this color come out of a Syrah bottle. Slightly closed-in bouquet–something a vigorous decant will fluff and plump. Black and meaty in the nose: bruised cherry skins with the kind of blueberry subtlety and plummy shyness wracked with acid, briar and grapefruit minerality showing the BEST things a cooler climate can do. But it’s Ballard, which isn’t exactly *cool-climate*. Many Rhones from this AVA I find heated and over-wrought, but occasionally one shines through with careful wine-making and a restrained hand in the vineyard–and cellar–making them glow with the best of Santa Rita Hills, SLO Coast or Sonoma Coast versions of *texture*. This is CLEARLY one of those.

It’s ripe; It’s warm; It’s glossy with a California glow of density while still managing gutsy meanderings through St. Joseph or Hermitage chalky, funky corridors of petrichor and spring water. Tasting it splashes away the dessert-like premonitions of the nose with savory bitters well-entwined with Aperol and Campari nuances. The fruit a solemn, black walnut affair: high on rasp while delivering thinnish berry below. The concentration around the edges of the tongue are giddily delicious, but the core of crescendoing structure and brash adolescence steal the spotlight. Luxurious in foresight and basally streamlined–BOTH hitting 10/10 from their respective corners. It shows moderation throughout the palate: tipping its hat in concentrated directions while keeping the full deal close to the chest. A wine calmly displaying ALL the trademarks of infinitely-ageable Syrah; Watch for the release: buy a case and drink one a year. You are going to SOOOO thank me in 2030.

2020 BOLT TO WINES Syrah Ballard Cyn SYV Santa Barbara Co. 14.5


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