Possessing an inky, pitch black color, the 2004 Clos Mimi Syrah Mcginley Vineyard checks in at a whooping 18.5% alcohol and offers up a unique, thrilling drinking experience. I was blind tasted on this (from a bottle that had been open for 10 days) and thought it was an Amarone at first but in the mouth, the structure didn’t fit. A bottle opened at home later showed much sweeter with massive dark fruit, meat, candle wax and earth aromas. These flavors carry over onto the palate and the wine is full bodied with a thick, unctuous texture, beautiful balance and an incredibly long and structured finish. This has a solid dose of sweetness to the fruit so if drinking now, open a week in advance and try this with a cheese course at the end of a meal. Otherwise, hide in the cellar and see what happens in 10, 20 or even 30 years. It also appears to be immune to oxygen and a bottle out of the fridge was as fresh on day 11 as it was when I opened it. 93+
A very special, but challenging effort, the 2004 Syrah McGinley Vineyard should be called a Syrah Amarone. With 18.5% alcohol, an inky/dark purple/garnet, and notes of road tar, camphor, truffles, blackberry liqueur, figs, and incense, it is a wild, exotic, thick-textured offering that is clearly more Amarone than dry table wine. This is not for everybody (especially those incapable of thinking “outside the box”), but it is unquestionably an impeccably well-made example of a completely different stylistic spin on Syrah. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it last for a couple of decades. (RP)
Glass-staining ruby. Superripe, port-like aromas of dark fruits and cherry compote, musky herbs, licorice and black tea. Very rich and thick, offering sweet black cherry and singed plum flavors and notes of black cardamom and espresso. I kept waiting for this wine to take a roasted turn but it didn't happen. The finish features an exotic note of candied violet and clings impressively. No way I'd serve this to an unsuspecting guest, but fans of Henri Bonneau's wines should be enthralled by this wine-in fact, by this entire lineup. The oxidation and volatile acidity issues that plagued numerous Clos Mimi wines earlier this decade appear to be a thing of the past, but Tim Spear's wines are still among the most highly personal Syrahs around and I can imagine some tasters finding them bizarre. (JR)
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2013 Solomon Hills "Solomon Hills Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $40)