Monday, January 3, 2022

Big Syrah From Paso Robles

Alta Colina winery is based in Paso Robles' Adelaida District at a nice elevation.  In fact, their name translates as "high hill."  The show is run by the father-daughter team of Bob and Maggie Tillman, with winemaking handled by relative newcomer Molly Lonborg.  Bob calls Alta Colina his "retirement program run amok."  He has been at it for 18 years now.  He says he just started making wine, "and it got out of hand."

The Tillmans grow Rhône grapes on their estate, organically farmed.  The grapes are not organic, Bob says, because he has never gone for accreditation.  Says Molly, "Organic is a philosophy, not a marketing tool."

The 2018 Alta Colina Toasted Slope Estate Syrah is composed of 97% Syrah - two different clones - along with 2% Viognier and 1% Grenache.  It was aged for 21 months in oak and another 15 in the bottle.  The wine's alcohol level checks in at 14.5% abv and it retails for $58.

Dark fruit dominates the nose while some savory notes play through.  The aromas of black and blue berries, plums and cassis define the bouquet, which is shaped by shades of anise and earth.  The palate is really a delight, as fruity as you want it to be while maintaining the Prince of Darkness title.  Tannins are firm but not feisty.  The wine drinks quite smooth, even upon recent pouring.  I liked it paired with a Spencer steak seasoned with salt and pepper, and a side of chimichurri.  I make mine with parsley, cilantro and a Fresno pepper cut up in it.

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