Drink Dates: 2008-2015
The 2006 Royal City Syrah was sourced from the Stoneridge Vineyard on the Royal Slope. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it gives off a brooding bouquet of liquid minerals, lavender, incense, game, and bacon. This is followed by an opulent, plush, savory, dense wine with no hard edges. Impeccably balanced, it can be enjoyed now, but additional nuance is sure to emerge with patient cellaring. Wines like this have no track record of longevity, but I'd roll the dice on this one.
When it comes to his wines, the otherwise wild and irrepressible Charles Smith is as serious as a heart attack. Native yeast fermentation, foot crushing, spontaneous malolactic fermentations, gentle basket pressing, no fining or filtration are routinely practiced in the cellar. Even more important, Charles Smith knows where to find the great grapes. In a region where blending is still the rule of thumb, he is the ultimate terroirist. His 2006 collection is as good or better than anything he has done to date, although a tasting of 2007 barrel samples indicate that the best is yet to come.