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2010, although a bit cooler than the average Paso Robles vintage, allowed long hang times and good fruit intensity. The small planting of Syrah lies midway down the slope of the vineyard, literally a landlocked “island” in a sea of Cabernet Sauvignon. Based on the Estrella clone, these vines can trace their origins to cuttings from Chapoutier’s northern Rhone vineyards in Tain Hermitage. Characterized by small tight clusters the vines produce low yields of deeply colored berries. There is a sense of real extract here, meaty, yet with vibrant underlying fruit. It’s like dining in a Moroccan restaurant with scents of a North African spice bazaar leading off the parade of flavors, which continue with powerful raspberry liqueur-like flavors accented by a gentle mineral lift. The long finish speaks of cured meats, silky tannins and luscious red berry preserves. Blessed with good ageing potential the “Viking” can be enjoyed now or cellared through 2020.