Thursday, March 4, 2010

2004 Lillian Winery Syrah

It was almost heartbreaking to pop the last of our 2004 Lillian Winery syrah, but upon further investigation, I was very happy to find that we till have 2 magnums of the 2004 Lillian left on the top rack of the cellar. With that said, I had no problem grabbing this wine tonight, and this is a wine that we have enjoyed so many times in the past. A little history on Lillian: Former Sine Qua Non assistant winemaker Maggie Harrison founded Lillian, and the 2004 was her first vintage. Maggie learned from one of the best California cult wine producers, Manfred Krankle (and his wife Elaine) at Sine Qua Non, and at Manfred's urging, he assured her she was ready to produce her own wines. Thankfully, Manfred hit the nail on the head, and Maggie is crafting some amazing wines at Lillian, as well as at her other label, Antica Terra, that specializes in pinot noir. What I find the most intriguing about Maggie is the fact that we both grew up in the same town, Barrington, IL! What a small world the world of wine truly is. This was opened and decanted for about 3 hours prior to going to Delorenzos, and was decanted at cellar temperature, which we keep at 55 degrees. Re-corked for transport, and poured into the Riedel at Delorenzos, this wine showed a typical Lillian hue of dark inkiness! One the nose, this showed some gorgeous black fruits. Blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and boysenberry with some good earthiness, oak, eucalyptus, and white pepper. There were some faint hints of alcohol on this wine as well, with hints of tobacco and plum, and hints of bacon fat rounded out the nose. On the palate, all I can say is WOW! This wine is huge! Massive! A monster! This is big on the big, with great dark berries: mostly blueberry and blackberry. This wine has settled down a ton since we last had it, and the alcohol has integrated nicely, along with the oak, and the fruits really mesh together well. The finish on this wine lingers for a good 3 seconds, and there is the faintest Cote Rotie-esq styling for just a few seconds during the finish. No, I am not saying that this wine is anywhere close to a Cote Rotie, however, there are just a few seconds that you get similar hints. It is crazy really, but not a bad thing in the least. All in all, i am very happy that we had the experience to see how this wine has emerged over the years, and glad that we still have a couple of these in the cellar, albeit in large format. This is a great wine, and it has many years left in it. For those cellaring them, feel free to drink them up now, whether you pop and pour it, or let them decant for an hour or two. No matter what, I think you will be pleasantly surprised! 94 points! Cheers! -F. Scott

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