2012 Syrah, Zabala Vineyard
The Zabala Vineyard is located along the northern bank of the Arroyo Seco AVA's seasonal creek. It is a riverbed site that features meager, granitic topsoil arrayed on cobblestone beds. Further, strong afternoon winds (akin in certain respects to the Rhone Valley's Mistrals) and daily fogs result in long hang-times and wonderful fruit. Mercy sources three clones from the Zabala family (clone 7 an Aussie Shiraz clone, and two French ENTAV clones 470 and 877). All get co-fermented in small open top bins and ultimately the wine spent 18 months in French oak barrels (11% new) prior to bottling.
California's version of a Northern Rhone-like wine, the bouquet highlights dark fruits and layers of earthy tones. More defined, it expresses aromatics of black cherry, boysenberry and black plum fruit along with mocha, turned earth and Asian five spice powder. Elegant and bright on the palate, the wine reveals a more delicate side as red-fruit characters push through with notes of cranberry cocktail and bramble berries mingling with violets, white pepper spice and graphite.
93 points - Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe and plump blackberries shine through in a showcase of fruit purity, lifted by dried fennel, hot black gravel, peppercorns, toasted sesame and soy. There is tremendous structure and acidity on the sip, with black pepper and black-sesame nuance plus juicy boysenberry character to the midpalate."- M.K. (9/1/16)
Vintrinsic - "Moderately dense very dark red with a thin purple rim. The 2012 Syrah displays mature dark fruits in the aroma, especially plum, black cherry and black raspberry, complemented by smoky, meaty highlights. The nose exhibits warm lift and generosity. The wine is fat and nearly full-bodied, but is held in check by elevated acidity and embedded tannin, keeping it fresh and firm rather than dense and heavy. The mixture of French barrels (11% new) has been skillfully judged to avoid masking the wine’s innate personality... The wine will benefit from keeping until 2018-2020. Shows more the day after opening; decanting will be beneficial. This is an impressive Syrah from an area not normally associated with this variety." - Roger Bohmrich MW (Tasted 04/16).
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