The wine is our 2017 Syrah and called The Hated Hunter. The name should be reasonably self-explanatory if you worked yourself through the above “Dostoyevsky of the illiterate.” It is a quite majestic vinous rendering and one that Opa Josef would have enjoyed sipping and blabbing about. It is a cuvee of 82.4% Syrah, 7.8% Petite Sirah, 5.2% Mourvedre, 2.0% Grenache and 2.6% Whites (1.4% Viognier and 1.2% Petit Manseng). It was fermented with 26% whole clusters (meaning on that percentage of the fruit the stems were fermented with the berries). The fruit was all Estate grown on our four ranches/vineyards. Since you might want the score, here is that insight as well. 41% is from THE THIRD TWIN vineyard near the little town of Los Alamos. Not the creation place of the atomic bomb in New Mexico, but the Man-Grape-Project in California. 32%from the ELEVEN CONFESSIONS vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, 25% from the CUMULUS vineyard right here in Oak View where we live and where the winery is and 2% from the MOLLY AÏDA vineyard in Tepusquet Canyon...in the back of Santa Maria, way out in the boonies where banjo playing is still prime entertainment. We used 59% brand new and all French oak barrels to educate this class act and the wine proves this was a clever decision. Maybe not intelligent per se, but certainly pretty darn good intuition. I suppose it shouldn’t be, but it is always tough for me to describe something like that and be meaningfully picturesque, but not get off-the-wall and too hoity toity. Incidentally, before I give you a few colors and adjectives, I want to quickly say that I read a bunch about possible smoke taint in Napa (how true = who knows?), but one way or another timing was such for us that luckily we have had no such issues or concerns. At any rate – this Hunter – searches for all of your receptors. Like all the Syrah we have ever made, this is no wilting flower. But it is behaved and respectful and courteous. It all starts out with a fantastic color that is deep and dark, but also lively and almost shellacked looking....which we strive to achieve and which I love. The nose is very much SQN (that’s what my notes say anyway) with fruit forwardness and quite a lot of seductive character. There are also tones of forest floor and mushrooms, but black and red fruits remain dominant forces. The mouth is very pretty – almost chaste (the almost is important here) and there is a savory, but silky and expressive expression and a lovely, superbly friendly, pleasant, involving and thought-provoking interaction with all the tasting participants. Text: Manfred Krankl.
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