Syrah from California
Syrah from California
Saturday 29th, 2005. $5 tasting at Vintage Wines, San Diego. Written up as This is one of the hottest varietals in the market today. With this growth has come some outstanding wines in all price ranges. Come taste 6 different styles of this great wine.
I tasted the wines without knowing their identity. The wines and the order they had been poured was revealed only after I had tasted and scored them. I’ve written my tasting notes together with the identity of the wines in the order they were tasted.
Montpellier 2001, California ($4.49USD)
Lightest in color of the group. Spicy aromas of cloves and pepper, developing into dried tea leaves. Thin in the mouth, well balanced with good acidity and the flavors carrying through on retronasal. Interesting but far from exciting. (2, 2, 3.8, 9.5 = 17.3).
McDowell 2001, California ($9.49USD)
Cherry red with red edge showing just a faint tinge of brown. Aromas of burnt tomato, Oxo cubes and smoke. Thin mouthfeel with a distinct hole midpalate, but otherwise with good tannins holding up a lengthy finish. (2, 2, 3.5, 9.3 = 16.9).
Sterling 2002, Central Coast ($8.49USD)
Cherry red with a red edge. Another wine with burnt characters and aromas of Oxo meat cubes. This wine was better balanced with soft tannins backed up by mouth watering acidity at the finish. Flavors carry through on retronasal. (2, 2, 3.5, 10.0 = 17.5). Note: The tasting notes supplied described this as being “made in an Australian style”!
EXP 2000, Dunnigan Hills ($8.99USD)
Cherry red with pink edge. Pleasant spicy notes developing to pepper, and just a hint of ethyl acetate. Medium bodied and well structured with good drying tannins and clean acidity and the flavors carrying through on retronasal. (2, 2, 3.8, 10.1 = 17.9)
Hogue 1999, Columbia Valley, Washington ($13.99USD)
Cherry red with a tinge of brown at the edge. Strong barnyard and earthy notes that evolved into muted spice notes over time. Light to medium bodied with grainy tannins. This wine died on the palate and the flavors did not carry thought on retronasal. (2, 2, 3.9, 9.0 = 16.9).
Nicolaysen 2001, Alisos Vin. Santa Barbara ($39.99USD)
Cherry red with a pink edge. Blackberry, oak, some ethyl acetate and alcohol on the nose. Medium bodied with the flavors carrying through on retronasal. Well structured but just a little hot. What is the alcohol is this? Most Aussie like for my tastes. (2, 2, 3.9, 9.8 = 17.7).
Hmmm, did I rush back into the shop to snap up some if these bargains? No, in fact I think I was probably more than a little generous in scoring some of these wines. My excuse is that I was, of course, judging the wines within their peer group!!
However seeing that others have encouraged me to taste more US Syrah I hunted around and grabbed a bottle of Carlisle 2002 Sonoma County Syrah $37.99USD. This is a wine that Parker has given (92-95) which means that he’s tasted it from barrel and his notes are as follows. A sensational effort, the 2002 Syrah is an exotic, rich, full-bodied wine offering copious quantities of blackberry liqueur, creosote, meat, and smoky notes. Pure, rich, and full-bodied, with great ripeness, but not over-ripeness, this terrific Syrah should drink well young, yet age for a decade.
My TN: Dense cherry red, almost purple, with red edge. Prominent sweet toasted oak overlying rich, ripe fruit. Not unattractive, but the fruit is not being allowed to show through here. Full bodied and very well balanced with an excellent retronasal and a lengthy finish supported by powdery tannins. The alcohol is evident, but not intrusive. At 24 hours the fruit flavors of blueberries begin to become apparent, but the toasted oak still predominates. (2, 2, 4.0, 10.2 = 18.2, 15.9% alcohol). Tasted January 29-30, 2005.
Clearly the Carlisle is way better than anything in the $5 tasting and it was cheaper than the Nicolaysen. None of the wines could be confused with Aussie shiraz.