***Three Stars*** Intensely spicy with a wealth of pepper and game tagging it as Syrah in no uncertain terms yet also wonderfully deep in ongoing blackberry-like fruit, this exquisitely structured wine manages to be big, balanced and uncommonly well-polished all at the same time. It is showy in some ways and still nascent in others, and it impresses as a wine with great places to go. It would be a shame to pour it before its fifth or sixth birthday, and it should continue to grow for at least twice as long.
The 2012 Syrah Jack Roberts Run (330 cases aged in one-third new French hogsheads for 18 months) boasts an opaque purple color as well as notes of charcuterie, smoked meats, roasted herbs, espresso, blackberries, graphite and Asian soy. This meaty, full-throttle Syrah hits the palate with a thunderous layer of fruit in a full-bodied manner. Enjoy this beauty over the next decade or more.
The 2012 Syrah Jack Robert's Run Gregori Vineyard is polished to the core. Supple and approachable, the 2012 is quite attractive today. Leather, flowers, smoke, tobacco, licorice and menthol wrap around a core of plump dark red fruit. In this vintage, varietal notes take a back seat to an up-front expression of fruit. In this vintage, the fruit was completely destemmed. Overall, I found the 2012 a little less finessed than it was from barrel. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at DuMol this year. Winemaker Andy Smith is no longer at Larkmead and is now solely focused on DuMol, which can only be a good thing for these wines. Many of the 2012s, the Pinots in particular, were even better from bottle than they were from barrel last year. The 2012 Pinots spent more time in barrel than normal, and for the most part benefited from the longer elevage. Unfortunately I was not able to taste the 2013 Pinots as they were bottled earlier than normal, just before my visit. DuMol and Andy Smith fans can look forward to two Cabernets starting with the 2014 vintage; the first is from the Montecillo vineyard in Sonoma, while the second is likely to be a blend from two top Napa Valley sites. DuMol occupies a pretty solid position in the middle of the stylistic spectrum, which is one of the reasons they are so delicious. In my view, these wines have never been better.
Offering subtlety with refreshing purity, and good structural balance with length, DuMol's Syrah brings together dark notes with a sense of freshness, lightness on a body of depth, and echoes of red fruit with pink-grapefruit pith. Nicely done with giving flavour, and lots of movement.
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