Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: ****+ $$ Montes Alpha Syrah, 2005, Colchagua Valley, Chile - BEST VALUE

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Original review, December, 2007:

The Montes Alpha Syrah, from the Apalta Vineyard in the Colchagua Valley of Chile, shows blood-red in the glass, almost opaque, with purple highlights.

Aromas are insistent, bursting with black cherry, oak, a bit of hot roast beef on toast, ripe plums.

On the palate, a fresh, ripe flavor of mentholated vanilla plums is the first thing you notice. Flavors are mid-sweet, with light acids and tannins. The finish is fairly brief, though pleasant. Does not feel substantial enough for long aging. I'll go with three stars out of five - a plus added for compelling aromas and intriguing flavor components.

Wine Spectator gave this a generous 92 points, with these comments: "This is ripe and concentrated yet polished and refined, with layers of dark cherry, blackberry and briar caressed by suave toast, vanilla and mineral notes. Long and fleshy through the finish, which shows solid grip. Contains 7 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 3 percent Viognier. Drink now through 2009."

Updated review, over three and a half years later, September, 2011: Color is consistent.  Aromas carry precisely the same notes as three and a half years ago, like this has been in a time capsule: plums, roast beef, black cherry, all in a wild wrapper.  The palate has settled down to rich, luxurious layers of aromatic toasted bread, solid oak and silty black cherries.  Fleshy and soft in feel, with modest but clean finish.  Reaches four stars now six years from vintage date, and becomes a best value.  Buy a newer vintage if you must, but DON'T drink it for awhile!  Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle:  This inky aroma is still intoxicating!  Palate is consistent, and the finish even brightens up. Gains a plus for its poignancy to 4+ stars.  Stunning at the price.

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