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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Roller Coaster of Flavors from California

Colgin Syrah Napa Valley IX Estate 2002

James Laube
Posted: January 27, 2009

A friend of mine had been playfully teasing me that I never serve him any of the "good stuff" from my cellar. In particular, he had been longing to try the Colgin Syrah Napa Valley IX Estate 2002. So the other night I uncorked and decanted it for him.

The wine was sensational, a real roller coaster of flavors. The first sip exhibited spicy beef stew aromas, right down to the seared meat, carrot and pepper notes. Next came an aromatic medley of blue- and blackberry. The next sip ended with a hint of bacon fat. And that's the way the wine kept changing all night.

My friend, though, struggled with the wine, finding it somewhat metallic and a bit astringent (it was noticeably tannic). I found it odd that he didn't warm up to the wine, but then he admitted that he'd been taking antibiotics and his taste buds were off. That took him out of the wine tasting and left more of the Colgin for the rest of us to savor. A solid 98 points, non-blind.

Colgin Syrah Napa Valley IX Estate 2002 (95 points, $125 on release)

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