"Spear hasn't bottled a new vintage of this wine since '99, having declassified the '00, '01 and '02. Distinctive black raspberry liqueur aroma and flavor, underscored by herbal (not herbaceous) notes, bright acidity, a seductively silky texture, and an appealing stoniness on the finish. Just terrific, in other words—though also, in its silkiness and translucency of flavor, against the grain for California Syrah (and appealingly so). Spear commented that 'Shell Creek has these big, truffle-sized chunks of limestone, and I attribute the silkiness to that aspect of the soil—this is kind of my Le Méal, without the extreme 75 degree slope,' referring to the great Chapoutier Hermitage of that name."
Senior Wine Editor,
Food & Wine
"Sweet creme de cassis, blackberry, animal fur, violets, and damp earth characteristics emerge from the 2003 Syrah Shell Creek Vineyard. This cuvee possesses a distinctive soil and terroir component that might be considered controversial, but it held up unbelievably well for ten days. A dense ruby/purple color, unctuous, thick character, and heady, full-bodied style suggest it should drink well for 10-15 years."
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate