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Flat front label of wine

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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Encompassing the grape-growing regions located north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano. Napa and Sonoma get all of the attention, but there are a few other counties producing great wine in Northern California. Two notable examples are Mendocino and Lake County, the northernmost winegrowing regions in the state. These AVAs are very different, both from their neighbors to the south and from one another.

Mendocino benefits from the cooling fog of the Pacific Ocean and is able to successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. There is a significant focus here on organic viticulture. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc are the dominant varieties. Both regions are excellent sources of high-quality but affordable California wines in a wide range of styles.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

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, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red 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, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

ENG169849_2004 Item# 169849