From a cobbled block of mature vines south of Walla Walla and very near the site of Smith’s new estate plantings, his 2009 Syrah Morrison Lane opens dramatically with pungent scents of wood smoke, resin, tar, soy, huckleberry and cassis, whose counterparts reconvene on a sappy, expansive, finely tannic palate leading to a piquant, gripping finish so forceful and energetic it leaves my tongue aquiver. The sort of pedal-to-the-(heavy) metal wine for which Smith is known (or notorious), this is, nonetheless, completely convincing in its complexity and cling. Look for at least the better part of a decade’s interesting evolution (though possibly the fact that the tannins were even more noticeable overnight should serve as some sort of cautionary signal). (DS)
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