I managed to get past the inconsequential water-stain on the label of an HDV Carneros Syrah thus securing, as the lone bidder, a wine that is still selling in some locales for over $60 a bottle. Just $20—a wine with a 92 Spectator rating. I have to be honest, though—the label did look odious while I sipped the most exotically spiced Syrah I’ve had in a very long time. But ultimately I wasn’t irked by the phantom slug trail.
I thought about photoshopping the stain out of my pictures, but began to take pride in my open-mindedness. Find your own soiled-label pearl at WineBid.com, and save some money. My father once picked up some great French wine for next to nothing because its labels wrecked in a cellar flood—I wish I remember what it was. If only this could effectively apply itself to Carey’s clothing purchases: “Dress destroyed in septic tank explosion—only $2!” but somehow I think this does not go both ways.
Carey and I had differing opinions of this wine. Perhaps more so than any other wine I can remember as of late. She didn’t care for it, and I felt like I had stumbled upon something very special. She even remarked on it taking on a rubbery Pinotage quality toward the end of the evening (possible reference made to the Springfield Tire Fire, but I can’t be sure). She certainly wasn’t dead wrong, as this wine did peak early before taking on some slack. This is a wine that doesn’t need decanting—its nuance is front loaded, so enjoy it.
From my notebook:
Nose: cloves, smoke, cured meat, and the coolness of menthol. I have never encountered a nose with such a rich concentration of sweet clove tobacco—astonishingly developed spices. My thoughts were redirected to my first puff of a clove cigarette on a cool, late summer night in Vermont. I was probably wearing Umbros and feeling very cool, and I couldn’t stop licking the sweetness off my lips and smelling my herbal smokey fingers.
Palate: ripe cherry (mixed bag of red and black fruit), cinnamon, nutmeg, leather and beef blood. Like a sweet, happy, bouncing peppercorn baby! While big-boned, this wine doesn’t oppress. French in spirit. Restraint in just the right places—developed flavors instead of overly saturated flavors. A perfect bridge wine, falling somewhere between old world and new world.