The 2017 Syrah from Sam Smith – excuse me, Samuel Louis Smith – is difficult to track down, but it can be found.
Why so scarce? To start with, the Morgan winemaker only produced six barrels for his namesake label. And scoring 94 points in Wine Enthusiast led to some brisk sales. Oh – and there’s the intense bouquet, ripe with blueberries, scented with cinnamon bark and meadow herbs. Follow this with a sip that sweeps you through bushels of hand-picked berries. A soft, toasted spice nuzzles the palate. A comforting flow of chocolate seeps in. There’s also a drizzle of mixed herbs. And it finishes with a splash of jam, tart yet fruity, balanced by stoic earthiness that lingers.
There are other notions in the wine. It’s a nuanced thing hiding behind bold and pleasing fruits. Smith created this by keeping his hands off the grapes as much as possible, including whole-cluster fermentation in French oak leaning heavily toward neutral.
Six barrels translated to 146 cases. The winemaker sold out. But they are pouring at Village Wine & Tap Room.
VILLAGE WINE & TAP ROOM 19 E. Carmel Valley Road #G, Carmel Valley. (760) 224-5675.