1998 Lane Tanner Syrah, French Camp

From the San Luis area, the French Camp is a ball o’ black pepper. At first, there was a slight hint of poop, but that blew off quickly; expect it to reappear with some bottle-age. The oak is noticeable but not overdone- like most of her wines, the main deal is the fruit, VERY intense fruit, big and forward. It finishes very well, with none of the heat and varnish that seems characteristic of modern California syrahs. One of the best under-$20 syrahs out there, and one that I absolutely prefer to most of the expensive Important Syrah-based Wines that everyone seems to feel obligated to make in my home state.

SY (3/00)