In advance of tonight’s First Friday debut of the new 2008 Lytton Estate Syrah, we’re doing a little tasting of our own! Notes below:
A genuinely alluring mélange of olfactory components, each a distinct iteration of density and concentration. The fruit characteristics are dark, baked, and gastrique-sweet; the floral notes are purple-toned and toothsome, and the herbalities are wintry, sylvan, and twilit.
To the eye, the wine is darkly concentrated, richly hued, and evidences a measured viscosity. The halo is a pristine magenta; the belly a compressed Byzantium.
On the palate, the wine is perhaps somewhat brighter than one might be led to expect based on the intensity of the preliminary assessments; the wine is actually quite jovial in its way, with a spry bounce to the acidity and a lively and fresh fruit portfolio. The herbs are still dark, but the black pepper notes in particular are restrained and in good balance. There is a certain tarriness to the very low end of the flavor spectrum that is reminiscent of something along the lines of burnt meat skin, or perhaps teriyaki’d soy, while above is a decidedly sumptuous outpouring of rich and darkly flavorful fruit. The viognier lends a decadent florality to the middle layers, and just a hint of honeyed warmth across the top.
The finish is where the viognier seems to have its greatest impact; softening tannins, and rounding out the mouthfeel. There is a powderiness to the tannin profile that plays nicely against the richly baked fruits, and the subtle sweetness contributed by the older barrels used for aging finds a pleasing match in the warm honeyness of the viognier.