From black marble-like soils, the 2011 Syrah Obsidian Vineyard is the strongest of the 2011s from the Donelan Family. Aged 22 months in 33% new French oak, this 300-case cuvee of 100% Syrah used 30% whole clusters, and was fermented with indigenous yeasts. A deep blue/black color is followed by notes of blackberries, blueberries, kirsch, licorice, camphor and a hint of barbecued meat. This full-bodied, mineral-laced, multi-dimensional, long Syrah tastes like it came from a much greater vintage than 2011. This forward and evolved wine can be drunk now and over the next 2-3 years. This is one of the most impressive Rhone Ranger winemaking estates in California. They have also expanded their portfolio to make small quantities of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. For me, the real glories of Donelan Family Wines are their Syrahs. As the tasting notes suggest, 2011 turned out well here despite the challenges. However, if you can still track down a bottle or two of the 2009s and 2010s, you are in for something very special. Joe Donelan believes their finest wine, representing the best vineyard parcels and top barrel selections is the Cuvee Keltie, which normally comes from specific sub-sections of such vineyard sources as Obsidian, Richard’s Family, Steiner Ranch and Walker Vine Hill. Kudos to Donelan Family Wines! (RP)
The 2011 Syrah Obsidian Vineyard is an intense, exotic wine. Tobacco, game, wild flowers and smoke are all alive in the glass. The 2011 is wild, intense and totally beguiling. Wild, savory notes dominate a huge, powerful Syrah that needs time to fully come together. Tasted next to the 2010, the 2011 has a bit less overt fruit and more savory overtones, much of that from the inclusion of 33% whole clusters. (AG)
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