Santa Barbara County, CA, 14.9% ABV
$6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 12 July
This wine label struck me as very promising, but it was a few days before I finally tasted any. Even immediately after opening, it seemed pretty good, starting to air quickly into ripe fruit of dark cherry and plum, earthy black pepper, with nicely balancing acid. I didn’t taste it after that until the third and fourth days open (still in the same bottle with just the cork stuck in the top), and it was then still reasonably good.
It was a couple weeks later, however, before I got to open a bottle over an evening and consider it a bit. This bottle struck me as less impressive than the first I opened. While it showed similar flavors, the wine was a bit more simple and dull, less complex and lively. It was also good from first pour, but more fully softened and opened up after 2 – 2.5 hours in a decanter. Even though I’m criticizing the second bottle compared to the first, I think it’s still very good for the price.
A few days later, the saved single-glass, screw-cap bottle still needed a little air to come forward and integrate. Although quite ripe and full-bodied, it showed nicely delineated flavors of dark red and dark purple / black plum, dark cherry / cranberry, tar / licorice, a little black pepper, and oak. It may be even better than on the first night. Still, I would guess this wine is at its peak, or even slightly past, and you shouldn’t wait long to drink it.
About this wine, Seedboy wrote: That Syrah is a nice cool climate example with plenty of life left on it.
Expat, lover of dry, earthy and tannic reds, commented: I had the Blackjack tonight. Exactly what I thought it would be – a well made, syrupy, meaty syrah. I think Seedboy and B-dub are a little more charitable than I am. To me it was a tad sweet and I didn’t find it completely balanced because it lacked the acid and tannin backbone for my palate. I sipped it while grilling a top sirloin over oak and it was a fine cocktail wine. With the steak it lacked the structure i wanted. Bottom line, this is a wine most people will be very pleased with and at this price it’s a great deal. I’ll apologize in advance for sounding like a pompous a**, I just like more earth and funk in my reds.
Here, I disagree with Seedboy that it has plenty of life left, and with Expat that there wasn’t enough acid. However, I agree with Expat that there was not a lot of tannic structure. Your thoughts? :)
P.S. I also saw a case or two of the 2008 bottling of this wine. Has anyone tried it?