Sonkin Cellars 2012 Persona Syrah (Santa Barbara County)

Ohio-based attorney and wine writer Loren Sonkin made this solid wine. It shows hot asphalt on the nose alongside purple flowers, condensed black fruit and fig-laced balsamic vinegar. The palate offers black cherry and blackberry, both ripe and tart, with Sichuan peppercorn, smoked beef and a bit of savory soy sauce. Matt Kettmann

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