On first opening, the Apsara didn’t have that characteristic cool-climate savory character that I usually get from Las Madres Syrahs. Let’s remember how young this wine is though. Initially, I got more of a fresh fruit character with soft tannins on the finish. On the second day, the wine had more of those savory elements that I’m used to from Las Madres, more of a black olive aroma and beautiful sweet plum. Not much oak on the nose. It’s an elegant, low-tannin Syrah that’s smooth and easy-drinking with a real rich mid-palate and a bit of heat on the finish. I think it will develop well over the next year and I expect more savory elements to surface.
The Apsara whole cluster is similar to the regular Syrah with the rich mid-palate but there’s an added complexity of whole cluster. The olive character is still there but it’s more green than black. There’s plum too and a hint of smoky tobacco. The mid-palate is rich and full and again, just the slightest heat on the back end.
These are delicious wines and representative of the rich but complex wines from Las Madres Vineyard. I’m very interested to see how they develop.
Apsara’s winemaker Robin Akhurst crafts the wines in Calistoga at the Envy Wines facilities where he runs their custom crush program and also makes about 3,000 cases of wine for Envy. Apsara is his personal project, started with his wife, and the wines, therefore, match his own palate preferences.
Robin was born in the States but raised in Scotland where he developed an appreciation of wine that led to an enology degree from Edinburgh University. He headed out to the wine world to learn as much as he could from other winemakers and then he and his wife decided to settle in Northern California.
The Las Madres Syrah was Robin’s first vineyard source and he also has a 2013 Napa Sauvignon Blanc and a high-altitude Cabernet in the works.
It’s the Syrah I’m most interested in, of course, and it’s a great example of Syrah from Las Madres. I think it’s going to progress even further in bottle.
Both these Syrahs hover around 14% alcohol and retail for just under $40.
These wines were provided as samples for purposes of review.