As in past recent years, I find the 2005 Syrah the most compelling wine in this line-up. A veritable kaleidoscope of mint, cured meats, cracked black pepper, chocolate, earthiness and dark fruit emerges from this gorgeous effort. Remarkably layered and complex in a vintage that did not favor Syrah, this sumptuous wine possesses superb balance in a full-bodied style, with beautifully integrated tannins and tons of harmony. The 2005 Syrah spent a year in 100% new French barrels, followed by a second year in 100% new French barrels, but the oak is deftly balanced. Though not inexpensive by any sane definition of the word, I consider Tua Rita's Syrah an essential wine for any well-stocked cellar of the finest Italian wines. In just a few years it has emerged as a reference-point wine for the region, as well as Tua Rita's top bottling.