2011SamsaraSyrahMelville2011 Samsara, Syrah, Melville Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.
Sometimes wines make you rethink your opinions and change your view, especially humbling when you’ve already made a judgement or two, and it the space of a week two Syrah wines from 2011 altered my held believes. I was ready to say, yes there were many nice wines made in 2011, but this tough year should just fade away and everybody should let it go, and we can move on the 2012, 2013 and 2014 which seem much more exciting all round in California. That was a mouthful, but I needed to set up what I wanted to point out, there will and will always be heroic surprises to discover in almost any vintage that will blow you away, for me, those two magical wines from 2011 are this glorious Samsara Melville Syrah, Sta Rita Hills, and the 2011 Lagier-Meredith Syrah from Mount Veeder in Napa Valley (94+) these are wines to search out and cherish, they are from very different terroirs and a quite a bit distinct individual stylistically, but both are fascinating examples of the varietal. Chad Melville’s Samsara Syrah from his family’s estate vineyard is refined, haunting and pure with violets, sea salt, mineral, mixed herbs and dark fruit compote leading the way with a medium full palate of blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry and tangy currant fruits with minty licorice, chalk dust, olive and peppery spices. The is a polished tannic backbone, lifting acidity, along with a beautiful textural mouth feel, the extra time in barrel really allowed this gorgeous wine to fully evolve and reveal itself, this an amazing effort, one of the best yet from Samsara, and it lingers on the finish with coffee bean, kirsch, cedar and back to that blueberry note, stunning throughout, drink from 2015 to 2020. Sometimes a tough year brings out the best in people, and highlights great terroir or vineyards, that is the case here, and it certainly gave me moments to re-think the vintage, be sure and check out the Lagier-Meredith 2011 Syrah and this sublime Samsara!
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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