Spending 64 months in 30% new French oak and a blend of 97% Syrah, 2% Grenache and 1% Viognier, the 2005 Agharta Wines displays a wild array of smoked blackberries, vanilla bean, exotic spice, cigar, meat juice, and chocolate like characteristics that just come leaping out of the glass. Intense, complex, yet with a decadent richness that comes through more with air, this thrilling blend is full-bodied on the palate and chewy, broad, and dense, possessing a brilliant texture, perfect balance, and a finish that won't quit. There's a wild nature here that won't appeal to everyone, but nevertheless, this is stunning stuff that should continue to shine for a decade or more.
After the mind-blowing 2004 Agharta Syrah, I had high expectations that it would be followed by additional great wines, and those hopes were answered with the 2005 Black Label, a blend of 97% Syrah, 2% Grenache and 1% Viognier. Aged 64 months (which must be a record in California) in 30% new French oak, it is another spectacular effort from winemaker/proprietor Pax Mahle. It boasts a gorgeously dense plum/purple color as well as stunning notes of black raspberries, gun flint, blackberries, licorice and camphor. This complex red builds incrementally on the palate resulting in a full-bodied, concentrated, complex wine that is bursting at the seams and loaded with potential. It should continue to evolve for another 12-15+ years. Drink through 2026. (RP) 95+
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