A classic Rocks Syrah, the 2012 Syrah The Contender is a deep, rich, full-bodied beauty that boasts terrific notes of ripe plums, blackberries, truffle and wild herbs. Incorporating 3% Marsanne (which also give the texture some oomph), it has a big, layered, seamless texture, no hard edges and sweet tannin. Drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years. (JD)
Aromatically dazzling, this wine shows complex notes of smoked meat, fire pit, black olive, peat, crushed flowers and sea breeze. The savory flavors are rich yet light and restrained, with a long, drawn-out finish. It's an impressive wine whose best years are far in front of it. Drink 2020 to 2026. (SS)
Multilayered, complex and inviting, this offers an open feel to the plum, blackberry, black olive and black tea flavors, lingering easily on the polished, refined finish. Drink now through 2022. (HS)
Saturated ruby-red. A touch of apricot skin adds interest to the blackberry and boysenberry aromas, but the overall impression here is less floral than the In the Rocks Syrah with its Viognier component. Sweet, silky and intense, conveying a captivating fine-grained texture to its flavors of purple berries lifted by a hint of white stone fruits. Not at all a meaty style of Syrah, and a bit more tannic than the In the Rocks, perhaps due to the Marsanne addition. (ST) 92+
Matt Reynvaan blends Syrah from his In the Rocks Vineyard with three percent Marsanne, allowing a little light to shine through the sleek blackberry flavors of The Contender. The finish is all unsweetened cocoa and black, smoky fruit. A ripe style for barbecue.
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