Red Hills Lake County AVA, CA, 15.5% ABV
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 22 Aug
A number of Red Lava wines showed up together at the Richmond store: 2008 Syrah, 2009 Syrah, 2011 Syrah, and 2011 Tempranillo. I got the 08 and 09 Syrahs, distrusting the weaker year of 2011. I think this wine is very good in a ripe, fruity, CA way.
After about an hour of air, the wine shows ripe, tangy dark cherry and blueberry, cranberry sauce, black-earthy roasted or grilled character, with zingy acid on the finish, and a slight touch dark evergreen. The body is not very heavy, letting a bit of alcoholic hotness show through, but the wine is well-flavored, There is a little bit of simple or candied fruitiness that I dislike, but overall I thought it was outweighed by the more serious Syrah character. Thumbs Up.
The second half, stoppered in a 375ml bottle with very little air, was different but at least as good. It still needed a bit of air to show very ripe, rich, earthy fruit of dark purple cherry, purple grape, blueberry / blackberry, perhaps still some of the cranberry sauce, with a roasted / grilled character, and slightly abrasive tannin / acid on the finish. Overall, this is very good wine for the money.