The 100% Syrah offering, the 2005 La Sangre de Jonata, exhibits an inky/blue/purple hue along with a stunningly pure nose of melted licorice, meat juices, blackberries, pepper, and a hint of balsamic. It is a wine of extraordinary density, richness, high tannin, beautiful purity, laser-like acidity, and superb texture as well as length. This remarkable Syrah is both powerful and elegant. Give it several more years of bottle age, and consume it over the following 10-15 years. This remarkable Santa Ynez estate is under the same ownership as Napa Valley’s Screaming Eagle winery. While well-known Bordeaux consultant, Michel Rolland, and Screaming Eagle’s winemaker, Andy Erickson, play important roles at Jonata, the people most responsible for the quality of the wines are owners Charles Banks, Stan Kroenke, and winemaker Matt Dees. Jonata’s debut vintage, the 2004s, were somewhat of a work in progress, but the 2005s convincingly established what compelling wines were about to emerge. The 2006s and a handful of 2007 barrel samples I tasted suggest this is one of California’s most exciting new wineries. What they are accomplishing with Bordeaux varietals is mind-boggling. I have included these cuvees since some of the blends include Rhone varietals. (RP)
Opaque violet. Explosively perfumed nose offers a wild array of red and dark berry liqueur, floral oils and pungent herbs, all underscored by crackling minerality. Deep and sweet, with powerful cassis and black raspberry, candied licorice and violet pastille flavors. This reminded me of a big-ticket, single-site Chapoutier Hermitage. The sweetness is reined in by firm mineral and bitter chocolate, but returns on the remarkably long, juicy finish. Pretty amazing for a sophomore effort. (JR)
Intense and concentrated, this is tightly focused on the core of earthy berry, spice, sage and mineral flavors. Firms up on the finish, with tight cedary tannins. Decant. (JL)
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