International Wine Cellar
Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: Issue 126
($50; 50% whole clusters; from soil rich in schist that Guthrie compares to the Cote Brune of Cote-Rotie) Saturated deep ruby. Highly aromatic nose offers crushed raspberry, pepper, woodsmoke and minerals. Densely packed, intense and sweet, with flavors of dark berries, spices and pepper. This boasts terrific, slowly mounting fruit and finishes very long and perfumed, with big, peppery tannins. The crop level here was barely two tons an acre, according to Guthrie. A superb California syrah in a distinctly French style.
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Author: Robert Parker
From a high elevation site (1,400 feet), the 2004 Syrah Hawke's Butte is planted in pure schist. Seventy-five percent whole clusters were used, and the wine was aged 16 months in French oak, 30% new. Revealing the most minerality of these Syrah cuvees, its liquefied rock character is interwoven with blackberry, cassis, and a peppery earthiness. It should evolve for a decade.
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