04 Chateau Maris, Minervois La Liviniere Syrah La Touge
It could be Cote-Rotie. But sourced from just southwest of the Rhone in Minervois, the syrah here comes off even spicier than its famously sun-baked cousin. La Touge is an aroma-driven wine that manages to offer exactly the same blended flavor on every sip without ever getting dull. Nothing develops. It smells and tastes mathematical, a precise formula of seared sirloin, fresh blacktop, chewy bacon fat, green peppercorns, and Maille mustard. Dead petals of violet settle like fall leaves in the background. This is a meaty, incredibly masculine syrah with firm, smoky tannins. If the fresh raspberry flavor (thin but powerful like a consomme) that does eventually emerge was a bit denser on the palate--a hallmark of the 2002--I would have cleared the entire lot off the market.