Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Terra Bella 2008 Estate Syrah, Paso Robles

Can this Syrah from Paso keep punching a full decade after the harvest? We uncork to find out.

Ten Years Are Gone

On a recent Friday night I pulled out the 2008 Terra Bella Estate Syrah from Paso. The bluesy sounds of John Mayall’s Ten Years Are Gone came to mind as I uncorked the bottle. “Ten years are gone, what of ten years from today?”

Aging can do funny things to people and wine. Some mellow with age, some fade away and some just get weird. Which would it be with the Terra Bella?

Terra Bella is a former cattle ranch in Paso Robles that specializes in Rhone varieties and supplies grapes to some of the top California Rhone producers. Talented winemaker Andrew Murray crafted this single vineyard Syrah with grapes from the steep limestone hillsides of Paso Robles.

Into The Darkness

The drinking window for this wine was listed as going through 2017. High time to drink up! Pouring into the glass, the wine is an inky, opaque deep purple. On the neck of the bottle a fine coating of sediment lined the inside.

On the nose there was a slight odor of acetone, making us wonder if we had waited just a year too long. Swirling and sipping dissipated the smell which gave way to subdued black fruit. The nose was pretty closed.

The Terra Bella has 15.5% ABV and seemed quite “hot” to me on first taste. The Green Dragon turned to me and said, “What are you talking about?” As the wine opened up I experienced the same slippery smooth tannins she was enjoying.

Despite being a decade on from vintage, this is still a big wine. Black fruit and blueberry notes contribute to a dark and powerful character. There are some brambly notes, which we love about Syrah – especially from hilly terrain. The wine has a medium-plus body and a hint of spice.

I’m not sure if Terra Bella is still producing their own wine, or just selling grapes from the vineyard, but this Syrah is an excellent one. We picked this up for a mere $18. To paraphrase John Mayall (with Blue Mitchell playing some mean trumpet behind the vocals), “Ten years are gone and the future worked out fine!”

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