Hold the phone. Bar the door. This Syrah is officially out-of-control good. It’s incredibly plump and succulent, brimming with flavors of huckleberry pie, blueberries, white and black pepper, and a savory, meaty character. Just killer Syrah! Do yourself a favor and smoke some beef short ribs on an oak fire, prep the horseradish, and Go. To. Town.
If we were to pick just one Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to blast into interstellar space for aliens to try when they stumble upon it someday, that wine would be Plumpjack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville. In our view it is the most flavor-packed, complex, complete bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that you can buy, in pretty much every vintage. Plumpjack is in one posh neighborhood, with Screaming Eagle, Rudd, Bond St. Eden, and Dalla Valle all nearby. This is Oakville’s (and the Valley’s) absolute sweet spot, near the crossroads of Oakville Cross and Silverado Trail. Their Cabernets are absolutely spectacular, stuffed to the gills with ripe cherry fruit and red rose perfume—and very fairly priced compared to the neighbors.
Strutting a deep purple-black color, the 2016 Syrah (a barrel sample) is slightly reduced at this nascent stage, revealing tar and black earth notes over a core of black plums and blackberry tar, plus hints of pepper and licorice. Big, full-bodied and bold in the mouth, it sports tons of black fruit and peppered savory notions, with ripe, firm, rounded tannins and a very long finish.
Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2016 Syrah is similar to the 2015, only slightly more pure and fresh. Blackberries, olive tapenade, smoked meats, and pepper all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, concentrated, beautifully pure Syrah that’s going to drink nicely for at least a decade. It’s a gorgeous Syrah that Rhône lovers should snatch up.