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Agharta Black Label Red 2004

Rhone Red Blends from North Coast, California
  • RP98
15.7% ABV
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15.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Evolved aromas of roasted earth, dried leather and meat jus immediately emerge from the surface of this opaque liquid. Eventually fruit aromas respond to your coaxing and tiny currants, the ripest blackberries and the densest of blue fruits fill out the darker more evolved aromas of leather and tar. The wine is thick and immediately mouth coating with a very richly textured and immensely concentrated sensation of fruit and spice. The secondary aromas of delicate white flowers, black summer truffles and dark roasted coffee highlight the fruit as the wine unfolds in your mouth. This wine isn’t noticeably oaky or excruciatingly tannic or seemingly sweet, it is just all kind of 'there' composed and finely knit together in a very decadent glass of wine.

Blend: 92% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Mix of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Proprietors Pam and Pax Mahle have fashioned a 2004 Syrah called Agharta. Aged 58 months (that’s not a typo) in French oak casks (the 2005, 2006, and 2007 vintages will spend 45-48 months in cask), the extraordinary 2004 is a 475-case blend of 92% Syrah, 5% Grenache, and the rest Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussane. Most of the Syrah comes from the Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino. This profound wine’s inky/purple color is followed by aromas of smoky barbecue meats, grilled Provencal herbs, and exotic tropical fruits intermixed with blackberry, cassis, blueberry, and graphite. This super-rich effort tastes like the nectar of Syrah, yet it is dry, elegant, and remarkably fresh and precise. In the mouth, the impression is like that of a multilayered cake – everything is there. This is an amazing, very multi-dimensional wine that must be tasted to be believed. It can be drunk now or cellared for two decades.
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Agharta

Agharta

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Agharta, North Coast, California
"Agharta Wines is the continuation of a project that I began in 2002. Utilizing the lowest yielding vineyards that produce the most intensely concentrated wines and age them in barrel until they ‘unfold’ and start to reveal secondary nuance. This process is unsettling at times as the wines could prove to need many years to mature and evolve in barrel until I feel they are ready to be bottled." ~Pax Mahle

North Coast

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Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.

Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

ENG169849_2004 Item# 169849