03 Bella Vetta Winery, Napa Valley Syrah "Our House Wine"
I love how this wine mixes high end with the lowest of the low. The bouquet's rich with candied, gummy fruit covered in tar. And that tar comes through on the taste, too--it really keeps my interest--but then backs off to "milder" notes of stinky barnyard, fennel seed, and bitter greens. That earthiness reminds me of the J.L. Chave "Mon Coeur" Cotes-du-Rhone, except that it's put beside the dense fruit that that wine's missing. It's easy to hate this, but in the face of so many saturated, oaky California syrahs, Our House at least echoes something a bit more traditional, wholesome, drinkable, and, in those ways, true. I'd put it in my house; and I'd bring it to yours.