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Average critic rating : 93.0 points
The 2008 Heart Stone, a blend of 47% Syrah, 39% Grenache, and 14% Mourvedre, is very elegant but evolved and supple, with beautiful kirsch and black currant fruit intermixed with licorice, camphor, pepper, and a hint of lavender. More evolved than the 2007 was at a similar stage, but with slightly lower alcohols, its velvety tannins stand out in this rich, plush, opulent, voluptuously textured wine. Drink it over the next 7-10 years. ||(Not yet released)||James Berry Vineyard, which I have mentioned many times, remains one of the iconic grand cru sites of California, an extraordinary block of limestone soil spread over a moderately steep hillside. The amazing thing is that there are probably many other sites in the area that are still cow pastures and would probably be just as suitable for the production of high quality grapes. The Smith family (in this case, Justin and his wife Heather) have continued to fine-tune their wines, having moved to proprietary Rhone Ranger blends. All of them are extraordinary in quality. Their 2007s were their greatest vintage to date, but as the following tasting notes evidence, 2008 (which produced another tiny crop from the 55-acre James Berry Estate Vineyards) is extremely impressive as well. I think most readers will find – and this is the case for many wines from California’s Central Coast – that 2008 is a much more inconsistent vintage, but those who waited and waited have achieved impressive success. By and large (and there are always exceptions to the rule), the 2008s are more evolved than the 2007s were at the same time last year.||Tel. (805) 610-0363; Fax (805) 238-2267 Wine Advocate.August, 2010
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