2010 Crossfork Creek Syrah “Dark Matter” (Sheridan Vineyard)

Hello friends. Because of our list’s consistent support for Sheridan Vineyard, we’re being offered a lovely gift today: a serious holiday-season discount on a new “alter ego” project from Scott Greer, a wine that will only see one vintage (at least under the Dark Matter name) due to a trademark lawsuit (a quick Google search will reveal the litigant; I’m sure as hell not going to reveal the name and get anywhere near the radar of these well-funded folks).

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($40); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

This project reminds me a little of the Beast label that Caleb Foster started to complement Buty. These alter ego projects are a way for winemakers to stretch their legs a little without worrying about brand consistency. Unburdened by the demands of the core brand, these talented winemakers frequently craft something magical, and that’s the case here.

The nice thing about Crossfork Creek is that the fruit source remains the same: this is all estate Sheridan Vineyard fruit, so we know the quality of the raw materials is excellent. But stylistically this is something different. Tasted blind, I would never peg this as a Sheridan wine. Sheridan wines are typically big, concentrated, generous, richly-fruited. This drinks more like a Syrah that would come out of the reactionary movement in Washington: Gramercy or Waters or Syncline.

I suspect Scott did what all the best vignerons do: he accepted what the vintage gave him. 2010 was a cooler vintage, and trying to shoehorn 2010 into a ripe, rich bottle would have led to trouble. Instead, Scott crafted a beautiful, meaty, cooler-climate Syrah; a bottle that is going to turn heads.

Inky black-purple in the glass (okay, so it still *looks* like a Sheridan wine), this presents a gorgeous, classic Syrah nose: boysenberry, violet, charcuterie, asphalt. On paper, that combination of berry fruit and cured meat can seem a little odd, but there is something about that fruity-savory marriage that we Syrah-heads find deeply compelling. The acid is vibrant and juicy, and there are notes of charred meat and woodsmoke from some new barrels. The overall package hangs together beautifully, and this is one of the more exciting new Syrah entrants I have tasted in 2012.

Lovers of Yakima Valley Syrah (Boushey Vineyard, Olsen Vineyard, etc) should pay close attention here. First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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