Vertical Tasting: Vina Montes Alpha Apalta Syrah

One of my favorite value wines year after year is the Alpha Apalta Syrah Colchuaga Valley from Vina Montes. I decided to taste the 2003 and the 2005 next to each other as an Easter gift to myself. Here are my running thoughts on each.

2003: Soft aromas of wild berry fruit, vanilla, and lots of green vegetable earth.

2005: More aggressive aromas of leather and subtle hints of earth above the dark, toasty berry fruit.

2003: Initial green earth flavors lead into hints of violety fruit and wild berry. Light hints of tar and leather linger behind. There’s lots of mineral and chalkiness to the long length.

2005: Lots of ripe fruit up front, strong contrast to the earthiness of the 2003. There’s black cherrry, black licorice and blackberry well-concentrated here. Darker undertones linger in the background as leather and mocha are present just before a nice blast of peppery spice.

2003: Speaking of spice, this one doesn’t have nearly as much. It relies more on its suaveness and finesse. There are hints of coffee bean in the finish, but these quickly give in to the chalky, dry finish that ends with green earth dominating the fruit and the other elements.

2005: Better fruit concentration for sure, but also much different fruit to begin with. These flavors are more typical of what I tend to associate with Syrah.

2003: The Wine Spectator says I was supposed to drink this before 2008. Oops. That could be to blame for the slightly out of balance fruit character. The wild berry elements are still intriguing, its just a shame that they give way to such aggressive earth and mineral notes so quickly.

2005: Pulling away as it opens. It’s noticeably more plush and benefits from its leathery characteristics and well-integrated pepper spice.
2003: 88 Points

2005: 90 Points

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