2018 Krupp Brothers, Syrah “Black Bart” Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley.
The deep and inky purple Black Bart Syrah by the Krupp Brothers coats the palate with fine grained tannins and opulent fruit density with seamless layers of blackberry coulis, blueberry, black currant and sweet plum fruits along with mocha, smoky embers, kirsch liqueur, anise, dark floral aromas and light forest floor earthiness along with dried sage and peppery spices. This is pure and hedonistic Syrah with a powerful, but ripe presence in the glass, the 2018 vintage brings a lively burst of coolness and acidity that really gives this wine an extra pop and while weighty and chocolatey, it feels remarkably well balanced, it was one of the many highlights of a recent visit to this winery. Jan and Bart Krupp, who founded and planted the Stagecoach Vineyard, which is one of the premier sites in the eastern hills of the Napa Valley, nestled between Pritchard Hill and Howell Mountain, and widely acclaimed for the incredible quality of the grapes. This awesome vineyard, that the brothers Krupp sold recently, still provides the fruit for their collection of wines, including this fantastic and heady Syrah bottling. From the beginning Rhone grapes played a passionate role with the Krupp wines, and I remember visiting Stagecoach early on and talking with the Krupp family about them and how excited by the Syrah and their white Rhones that they had started experimenting with at the time, so it was great to see they still have a love for them and that the wine has become so good. Of Course Stagecoach is mostly known for Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Bordeaux varietals, with the Krupp Brothers doing some fabulous versions, but on this trip I was blown away with their Tempranillo based “The Doctor” Red Wine, also from the 2018 vintage and this wine, which especially was showing well and is one of the best values in the limited small lot lineup. I highly recommend visiting the estate off the Silverado Trail, the tuscan style villa and views are absolutely stunning, as well as the wines.

The Stagecoach Vineyard, with its many different exposures and grades, provides many top wineries with premier grapes, from Chardonnay to Cabernet Franc, along with the mentioned Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Petit Verdot, Malbec, Roussanne, the Syrah for this wine and many other intriguing varietals. The red, rocky volcanic soils, and hillsides that rise up to 1,900 feet above sea level, helps Stagecoach produce some of Napa Valley’s most prized fruit and the cool night time temps help refresh these vines, that were planted via dynamite blasting, with good natural acidity. Unlike the coastal Syrah in California, this Napa Hillside version is more polished, less edgy in style and was crafted to cater to its own niche, it’s more like Guigal’s La La’s (Cote-Rotie) rather that Clape’s Cornas with all de-stemmed grapes and aging in small barriques, with some toasty new oak. While I admit to loving the whole cluster and more stemmy examples, there is a lot to admire here too and this wine really grew on me as it opened up in glass and even at 15% it never felt hot or flabby, in fact with a bite of hard cheese it came across as sublimely elegant. No question this is a big wine, it never hides that fact, but it really is delicious stuff and I got a bottle tucked away for some extended cellar aging, which I believe will prove very rewarding. Dr. Jan Krupp and Bart Krupp founded Krupp Brothers with the release of their first wine in 1999 and have build a strong following over the years, and the future looks very exciting, especially with Desiree O’Donovan, their winemaker, now taking the helm in the cellar and many years as the assistant here, working under some of the valley’s top gun consultants and other boutique wineries. As a longtime fan of this label, it was very much impressed with everything I tasted here, the wines have never been better and I cannot wait to taste O’Donovan’s new wines, that are coming out this fall.
($90 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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