2003 Lodi Syrah
Think Côte-Rôtie. Smoke, bacon and leather, red fruits, and pomegranate announce this monster of a wine.
The 15.5% alcohol and massive extraction wallop the palate, smoothing out into a big chocolate and leather finish with very little tannin.
A buddy of mine made this wine and approached me after a few vintages of difficult sales to gather my interest in buying the '02 and '03 vintages in bulk. Apparently, while he was very happy with the wine, most of his distributors were on the East Coast. His customers, not being familiar with the Lodi appellation, were unwilling to pay the $25+ price tag. After tasting the wine we immediately committed to the entire '02 and '03 productions.
Lodi is a region already known for intense, powerful Zinfandels. It is now rapidly becoming known for its Rhône varietals too, such as Syrah and Grenache. Hot days are cooled by breezes blowing in off the Sacramento Delta. This wine is a single-vineyard designate (but we agreed to not publish its name), was cropped-in at less than 2 tons per acre, pumped-over 3 times daily, and aged 14 months in new French oak. The vineyard resides in the rolling hills of the northeastern corner of the appellation, just as it pushes into the Sierra Foothills.