SINE QUA NON THE HATED HUNTER 2017
The 2017 Syrah The Hated Hunter (first tasted last year as a barrel sample and before it had been named) is composed of 82.4% Syrah, 5.2% Mourvèdre, 7.8% Petite Sirah, 2% Grenache, 1.2% Petit Manseng and 1.4% Viognier that was fermented with 26% whole cluster. The vineyard sources are 32% Eleven Confessions, 41% The Third Twin, 25% Cumulus and 2% Molly Aida. It was aged for around 23 months in French oak, 59% new. Deep garnet-black, the nose slowly unfurls to offer a vast array of savory, earthy, meaty notes—peppered salami, black olives, charcoal, wild sage and cast-iron pan—over a core of plum preserves, Morello cherries and boysenberries with wafts of menthol, tobacco leaf, Chinese five spice and aniseed. Full-bodied, the palate reveals surprising elegance, poise and restraint, delivering a mid-palate of exotic spices and a seductively plush texture, finishing with tons of earthy nuances and an invigorating minty lift. 1,821 cases and 600 magnums were made. "The Hated Hunter" features an old black and white photo on the label of Manfred Krankl's grandfather in hunting gear, posing with his rifle and hound. The companion 2017 Grenache to this Syrah is "The Gorgeous Victim," a reference to the black and white photo of a carefully composed deer trophy on that label. If wines can tell stories—and I firmly believe they can—I would love to revisit this evocative pair of wines after a decade of cellaring. What a dark, soul-searching, complex tale that will be. 98+/100. ROBERT PARKER.