One of the secrets of making fine, cool-climate Syrah lies in the elimination of herbaceous and vegetal characters from the wine. This is achieved by careful management practices and controlling the vigorous canopies in the vineyard. The year leading up to vintage 2002 was not what I might have chosen for this variety, but the long dry autumn which followed the vigorous summer growth provided the key. This wine has a very dense colour exhibiting a pure ruby edge. Its powerful nose speaks of flowers, red berries, talc, fruit cake mix, touches of dry tobacco and soft hints of white pepper. The palate is intense with dense but fine fruit tannins and considerable dry extract. It displays the flavours of red berries and cassis, some sweet tobacco and spice with an elegant floral lift and a long aftertaste. Syrah from the Rhone has the reputation for longevity and this does appear to be wine for the long term – just how long we cannot be sure since our Syrahs only go back to 1996 – but development is expected to continue well beyond that span of 6 years (with our usual caveats regarding good storage).
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