Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Pinder Winery 2003 Syrah  (Santa Lucia Highlands)

Pinder Winery

2003 Syrah
(Santa Lucia Highlands)

Do you like pepper? I mean, do you really, really love it? If so, this big Peppercornucopia of a Syrah from cool climate Monterey vines is for you.  This wine was aged for 15 months in French oak, bottled in Feb of 2005, and has probably been trying to fight its way out of the composite corked bottle ever since. Incidentally, all the Pinder wines use composite (technical) corks, and tend to exhibit just a slight bit of burnt rubber aroma when they are first opened. This lessens after about 30 minutes, so give them time. You won’t have to worry about TCA, but every closure type has its pluses and minuses. The only way to avoid closure interference is to drink the wine right out of the barrel. Our ancestors did it, and we’re not extinct yet.

But to the wine…The enormous wallop of white pepper on the nose is akin to having a waiter at a statement-making restaurant show up at your table with a two-foot long pepper grinder and begin wailing away at your spinach and bacon salad. The salad cringes. It almost made me sneeze, but the nice baked brownies poked through. On the palate, it’s a fascinating array of blackberries, peppered salami and a favorite from my youth, thuringer (spicy beef-based cold cut with peppercorns). It’s a meaty devil, with dried oregano and thyme on its long, intense finish. I’d serve this with pepperoni pizza on fine china or a steak au poivre and a side of purple mashed potatoes with gorgonzola. Oh, and hold the pepper grinder, unless you are a true sadist.

(14.4% alc; 75 cases)

Reviewed June 21, 2006 by Laura Ness.

The Wine

Winery: Pinder Winery
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Syrah
Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands
Grape: Syrah / Shiraz
Price: 750ml $28.00

Review Date: 6/21/2006

The Reviewer

Laura Ness

A wine writer and wine judge for major publications and competitions around the country, Laura Ness likens wine to the experience of music. She is always looking for that ubiquitous marriage of rhythm, melody, and flawless execution. What is good music? You know it when you get lost in it. What is good wine? It is music in your mouth.