Christmas has come early. This past Monday we tasted through a slew of reduced priced wines at one of our wholesalers. There were a couple dogs yes, but what I found were some truly exceptional gems. Sadly, not every wine is appreciated when it is brought to market. Some of them are misunderstood, unappreciated or disregarded for reason or another. Many wines just aren't ready to be drunk upon release. Not every buyer in town understands these things. Fortunately, we get to reap the benefit of these poor bypassed wonders (such as the Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir from the previous post!). One such standout was the Gregory Graham Syrah 2000 Napa Valley. 2000 was not necessarily considered the best vintage in Napa, but if there is one thing I've learned its to not always listen to the critics. This dark, blue velvet toned wine was rich & unctuous but a little closed off at first taste. I went back to it after tasting through another 20-some wines & this second time it seemed almost awkwardly pungent. But I just knew something was there, I could feel that it was going to blossom.....& did it ever. After work the next day I poured myself a glass from the open bottle & took a big whiff. The nose had developed into a thick perfume of smoke, bacon fat, drying blueberry, beef jerky, fennel & clove. The palate was fleshy, rich & dark with a round unctuous texture that still displayed some bright acid. Bright enough for the rich dish it would need such as lamb with black olives, peking duck or braised pork tagine. There are next to no bottles left so the minuscule amount that we get in at Joe's will surely go quickly. I know I'm going to grab a couple for my cellar!