Early labROUS report. I'm out of here in a few minutes, so I have to post this a bit early. Have a great week everyone.
LabROUS report 2004 Clif The Climber
Color: medium depth, quite purple. I noticed this was a blend of several varieties when WD gave it to me last week, but I intend not to look at the makeup until after I have smelled and tasted the wine. Initial aromas are dominated somewhat by oak, along with ripe berry-cherry fruit, brown sugar and hints of tar and leather. Swirling brings out the cherry and raspberry aromas along with a spicy, licorice-like component and a slight whiff of alcohol. The oak is not as obvious, and there are notes of black pepper, olive, cassis, tobacco and leather. The aromas don't change a lot with more time and aeration – I still get raspberry and cherry with a bit of watermelon, licorice, brown sugar, slight hints of tar, leather and soy. In summation ; there's a lot going on aromatically; this wine is fruity, but not simple. Don't let the references to tar, leather and soy bother you – these are minor nuances, not dominant characters.
The entry is medium full, with a supple texture. There is enough acid to keep the fruit bright, with cherry and raspberry flavors. The tannins are moderate with some astringency and a little bit of drying chalkiness on the otherwise sweet (fruit and alcohol, not RS) and long finish. There also is a slight touch of heat on the finish. This wine definitely has enough fruit and suppleness to enjoy by itself, but I think the bit of tannin and decent acid level make it a good candidate for matching with rich food. This has the stuff to last at least another 2-4 years, but it certainly is very ready to drink now, and I'd be inclined to drink it sooner than later.
Now comes the fun, and hard part – guessing the composition. Raspberry (and watermelon), brown sugar and black pepper say Zin. The cherry suggests Merlot. Certainly some Cab, with the olive, tobacco and cassis. Maybe some Syrah, but I don't really pick up the smoky, bacony, gamy trademark Syrah aromas. The purplish color and slight tannic edge might be from Durif (PS) or Petite Verdot, but I don't get excessive tannins, so I don't think either of these is a significant component. What else is possible? Pinot noir – no, maybe Carignan, Malbec, or Cab. Franc (licorice).
On looking at the back label, I'm surprised there's more Syrah than Merlot or Cabernet sauvignon. These three (and the Durif/PS) certainly give structure and complexity to the Zin.