Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

January/February 2006, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

A Donkey and Goat 2004 Syrah Vidmar Vineyard Yorkville Highlands($32): Full red-ruby. Nose shows sassafras, earth, sweet oak and an almost confectionary cherry element. Sweet, spicy and very New World in style, with flavors of cherry, raspberry and cola. The impression of sweetness lasts through the richly oaky finish but is supported throughout by freshness. Only a building element of oaky torrefaction kept this wine below 90 points. 89. 2004 Syrah Carson Ridge El Dorado ($32): Reticent aromas of marachino cherry, incense and herbs. A sappy, concentrated fruit bomb on the palate, with intriguing nuances of juniper and wild herbs adding interest to the intense cherry flavor. Not at all overly sweet. Finishes with dusty wood tannins and very good length. 89. 2004 Syrah Vieilles Vignes McDowell Valley ($34): Bright ruby-red. Musky aromas of meat, cedar and espresso. Supple and lush, with varietally typical dark berry flavors. This comes across a bit less complex and delineated than the Vidmar or Carson Ridge bottlings but it’s the biggest and most pliant of these three 2004 syrah release. Finishes with a flavor of jammy blackberry. 88