Begins with dark, brooding smells of blueberry and blackberry compote, bittersweet chocolate, cumin and grilled sweet red chili peppers. At first taste the wine is soft and a little too smooth, and with 15 minutes of air the wine expands and gains texture. Tannins linger in the background like a distant chorus. After an hour the extra-ripe berry fruits, dark cocoa, anise and black pepper flavors elevate and come together. It’s hard to do I know, but you can’t judge this wine until it’s had at least half an hour of breathing (decanter or big wine glass, lots of swirling).
Lunar Ridge Vineyard is composed of two postage stamp-sized plots, one northwest-facing, the other facing south. The cooler Napa Valley confines of the Coombsville District suit Syrah well. Owners Ray and Theresa Joske live on their vineyard, tend to their vines, sell most of their grapes and keep enough to make a few barrels of wine each year (75 cases in 2017). The wine is made by Bruce Devlin, a skilled winemaker who for years has made wines that marry power and finesse.