Long-time admirers of this wine may find the 2011 version a bit thin. It's a more subtle wine than is customary, the expressive funk subsumed below lighter layers of peat moss, sea salt and white chocolate. With decanting, scents of shitake mushroom, duck sauce and even chicken broth swirl up from the glass, with black tea flavors running through the tannins. Quite good, yet somewhat muted. (PG)
A vaguely gamy character informs the blackberry and licorice flavors in this spicy red, hinting at tomato leaf and dried tomato notes as the finish lingers. This has depth and presence. (HS)
(13.8%; picked on October 8 and 13, after Baron dropped an additional 20% of his crop in mid-July since the season was three weeks behind; he also did a saignée of another 20% and vinified with 80% whole clusters): Bright, dark red with ruby tones. High-pitched notes of spices, herbs and African violet lift the perfumed aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and huckleberry. Initially surprisingly creamy in the mouth for a wine from such a cool year, combining a sexy sweetness with lovely pepper and lavender lift. This wonderfully perfumed, precise wine is neither hard nor green. Most impressive today on the perfumed, rising, very long finish, which offers superb saline complexity, a subtle note of purple sage and outstanding peppery lift, with the tannins firm but not hard. A wonderfully scented wine from a very cool, late season; Baron told me that there were only three afternoons during the summer with temperatures above 90 degrees. (I should note that in my visits to Walla Walla in late June and July over the last three or four years, I've probably enjoyed no more than three afternoons with temperatures under 90.) (ST)
The 2011 Syrah Bionic Frog is another rocking Syrah from Christophe that does everything right. Creme de cassis, blackberry, smoked earth, toasted spice and violets emerge from the glass, and it flows onto the palate with full-bodied richness, beautiful purity of fruit and brilliant length. Gaining more minerality with time in the glass, it will continue to flesh out nicely with another handful of years in the cellar, and have two decades of ultimate longevity. (JD)
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