Having been a member of their wine club for the last four years or so, I've had more than my fair share of Dunning wines. And I can honestly say that all of them have fallen somewhere between Really, Really Good and Stupendous on the patented Ugawino Awesomeness Meter. So imagine my surprise and disappointment at tonight's bottle of less-than-stunning 2007 Dunning Vineyards Private Reserve Syrah, Paso Robles. Great color, as always, and a slight cloudiness that is to be expected from an unfiltered wine. Light, tart blackberry and odd, sour oak notes on the nose. The palate is nearly devoid of fruit (something I never thought I'd say about a Dunning wine) but shows lots of chalky, dry cocoa notes. The finish goes on and on with the dry cocoa and sour oak notes. 15.2% alcohol is barely noticeable. Not a total disaster, but very atypical of this wine and hopefully just an isolated off bottle.
I've had 3-4 bottles of this wine and I think I have 3 more in the cellar. I'll have to try another one in the near future and hope that tonight's experience was an anomaly.
Shame, too, because dinner was a delicious smoked pork shoulder (8 hours over charcoal with apple and cherry chips) with cilantro coleslaw and baked beans. A great, traditional BBQ meal that was longing for a slightly better wine accompaniment.