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ESJ ‘Fairbairn’ Syrah 2008

November 22, 2010

Edmunds St. Johns is quickly becoming my go-to American winery. His latest Syrah comes from a young Biodynamic vineyard in Mendocino County and accomplishes a beautiful balance of fruit and savory qualities. It’s a fresh, clean wine with blue fruit — but there is a lusty, sweaty and smokey dimension lurking beyond. The smoke and peaty iodine-like minerality immediately made me think of Ardbeg – which for me, is a good thing – but could definitely be polarizing. This wine felt particularly alive and ‘of the earth’ vs just ‘earthy’ or ‘dirty’. Syrah in California can so easily be blown to smithereens with alcohol, or totally obscured by wood (or both) – but ESJs wines really showcase the other side of the coin – picking at the perfect time and not screwing around with the juice yields an honest and ‘real’ varietal that belongs on the table. The Syrah that Syrah was meant to be.

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