Wind Gap Griffin’s Lair Syrah 2007

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Pax Mahle gained his fame making syrah for Pax winery, which grew from a tiny boutique to one of the hottest Syrah focused cult wineries in California. Prices, of course, shot up with the scores and the wine progressed from fascinating renditions of terroir-driven syrah to, on occasion, very large overbearing wines. Pax Mahle eventually left Pax winery to start his own winery (Wind Gap), which would focus on his desire to make more ‘honest’ wines from grapes grown on the best vineyards in California. Griffin’s Lair is, for Syrah, one such vineyard.

Purely Made Syrah

I’ve been wanting to try these wines for years and am very excited to find them in Vancouver. These wines represent what California can become, particularly with Syrah, which is being pulled out at ever increasing rates in the state. It seems Syrah is one hard grape to sell, which has helped to lower prices. In fact, I think Syrah makes the best value ‘great’ wines in the world.

But this is not just about Syrah, or rather, it is just about Syrah. With 100% whole cluster, natural fermentations, alcohol under 14%, crushed by foot and no clarification, this is amongst the most non-interventionst wines you can get from California.

Naturally Huge Wine

This is fascinating wine, meaty and inky dark, with plums rolling out in its big bold aromatics. There is briar and rich blackberry on this very rich and intense nose. This has classic Syrah flavours of pepper and game along with great full-on dark fruit. An impressively dense wine without being over the top or overtly opulent. This needs some time in the bottle before coming into its own, but this is surprisingly well balanced for its heft. I think this is likely due to the fact that the hugeness of this wine is part of its terroir rather than any attempt to make a monster wine. As such, this is wine with balance and structure despite its hugeness.

Right now I would note that the palate is still a little aggressive compared to how it will be with some age, but I have no doubts this will turn into something special.

$90 at Kits Wine Cellar


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