August Briggs 2005 Napa Valley Syrah—A Wine Worth Waiting For

RoxypicklogoI bought this wine seven years ago and opened it last month for Open That Bottle Day Night. I feared that I may have kept it too long. Where’s the fruit, I mused? A heady aroma with a whiff of barnyard overtook my nose (and you know how sensitive my nose can be).

Strong tannins, loads of black pepper, earth and tar dominated my palate, masking any signs of fruit. The finish was slightly bitter. Fortunately, I have a patient nature, so I decided to let the wine breath. I waited, and waited and waited some more. After 20 minutes in the glass, the fruit was still fighting to emerge. So I put the cork back in the bottle and called it night.

“Patience” is the operative word with this opaque wine, the inkiest Syrah I’ve ever encountered. This wine is shy—it needs at least 24 hours to express itself. Had I not been blessed with patience, I may have missed out on an exceptional Syrah.

Meow! Oh what a difference a day makes. The next evening, the wine decided to speak to me. Luscious aroma of blackberry pie enveloped my senses. Not to be mistook for jammy—instead, think brambleberries soaked in a rich, thick, gooey balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with sugar to tame any tartness.

Let’s not forget the tannins, pepper, tar and earth—they were still obvious but had the graciousness to let the fruit shine. The finish—albeit a bit short—was warm and spicy, leaving my palate tingling. With firm acidity, this complex, well-structured Syrah kept on giving through Day 3.August Briggs 2005 Syrah 1

2005 August Briggs Page-Nord Vineyard, Napa Valley Syrah. It’s worth noting the Brix (28.5) and alcohol (15.1%).

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