Le Cigare Volant 2003
2003 is something of a welcome anomaly. In that year, whether due to a faulty GPS or some very funky pruning in the Hecker Pass grenache fields, the Cigare temporarily drifted away its traditional reliance on grenache as a moral tether. Here syrah and mourvèdre are dominant to the tune of a combined 65% of the blend and they have seen fit to take the sun-loving grenache - which accounts for a bare 26% of the blend - behind the woodshed. Of the vintages of new millennium, this one indeed is the densest, the most rigid and structured. The last time we detoured down this track was 1995 and you can hardly quarrel with the results. The obligatory “This is the most age worthy Cigare to date” proclamation carted out every few years seems to actually carry some water with the ’95 as it is very fresh and energetic, still in a stage of early development. One can confidently predict that the 2003 will mature along a similar trajectory, the meaty musculature of the syrah and mourvèdre - and the protective cocoon of the Stelvin closure - providing a solid framework for the spicecake, raspberry liqueur and peppery ornamentation to coalesce and evolve over the next 15 years.
Tobacco, figs and pepper on the nose. A refined wine, with just the perfect amount of age. The fruit's still there - black cherry, blackcurrant, raisins - but there are also some nice secondary aromas - leather. Its very fruity, on the verge of being too much, so I bet its improved over the last few years as the fruit had time to die down. Nice integrated finish. There's a touch of licorice on the finish, but its muted - which is good.