One day, when the story of wine as a commodity is written, Syrah will stand tall as the one major wine that never sold out. That’s said in the spirit of tongue-in-cheek, because in most large markets Syrah is a tougher sell and few brands sell out of stock. But we’re talking sold out as in the way former fans of Metallica accuse the band of doing so, or like some people say Taylor Swift did when she abandoned her country roots for pop stardom with the release of 1989. To not be a sell-out in the wine market, you have to stay indie and avoid mass production and cheesy marketing schemes aimed to satisfy the mass market. No doubt about it, the current market bears the evidence: Cabernet Sauvignon has sold out, Chardonnay has sold out and even Pinot Noir has sold out (a glass of Meiomi, anyone?). Syrah, however, has stayed true to who she is, from the very beginning and until the very end.
The fabulous 2012 KYNSI Edna Valley Syrah is as true indie in spirit as, say, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, The Roots or Death Cab for Cutie are, and, hopefully, as Kendrick Lamar will remain. Well, first of all, the Kynsi Syrah is very limited in production, and you won’t find it anywhere other than at the winery—tucked away modestly and inconspicuously somewhere in-between the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley. But, just like some of America’s greatest musical tracks came out of unassuming places like the Sun Studios or the Stax/Volt Studios in Memphis, Tennessee (the musical birthplaces of artists like Elvis Presley and Otis Redding, respectively), the Kynsi winery produces, unequivocally and inarguably, one of the greatest reasonably-priced Syrahs you’ll find on this planet (do they make wine on other planets?—just asking). Starting with its pleasingly fragrant nose, the red wine is awash in lush flavors of blackberry and boysenberry jam, with hints of caffè latte, balsamic and lavender. Blessed with a level of viscosity and succulence to stir the passions, there is just the right touch of acidity along the journey for impeccable balance. This is Syrah that is an immersive experience—there’s no escaping its grasp, plunging you deep into its richness. Delicious and satisfying to the soul, the wine’s lingering effect is one of lasting affection. –J.M.
Added to: Really Good Wine List [June 2016]