Hello friends. I’m the inquisitive type. Irritating to friends and family? Possibly. Useful in this particular job? Absolutely.
After reading Sean Sullivan’s breathless review of today’s wine (you’ll see it below) and tasting it myself, I was left wondering: how can a wine at this tariff be this good?
And so it was, through a barrage of questions, to a legion of wine-trade folks, that I finally learned the true story behind this wine. A source with intimate knowledge of the situation has confirmed that this bottling is the final resting place for the dearly-departed Olsen Estates 2009 Syrahs.
Many of you know the sad story of Olsen Estates by now. For those who don’t, we recapped in our most recent Olsen offering.
When Olsen Estates went out of business, all their juice, in bottle and barrel, was purchased by their distributor (Vinum). We know this happened sometime in 2010, which means all the 2009s were still in barrel. We have seen some of the 2009s released to the market with the Olsen label, but an open question around town has been: what happened to the Syrah.
Now we know the answer: Vinum bottled it under their house brand: For A Song.
The reason this far outpunches its price class is because much of this was originally intended for Olsen’s high-end, Heritage line ($45, and you might remember the 08 vintage for its 93pt score from Wine Spectator). It spent 18 months in French oak, which simply does not happen for $15 Syrah. It was coddled like a $45 wine, and it shows. Beautiful Yak-Valley Syrah notes of smoked bacon, blue fruits, and white flowers are swaddled in barrel notes of high-cacao chocolate and dark-roast coffee. This is dense and meaty on the palate, something like one of those dark-chocolate covered bacon bars that are all the rage right now. Squeeze some blueberries and marionberries on top and you’re starting to get the picture. Undeniable textural class, double-take complexity in aromatics, and intensity to burn: hard to ask for much more at this tariff.
Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($15); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: **** (Excellent).”
Holiday party planners, wedding planners: take note. This is a doozy. First come first served up to 72 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.