Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blind Tasting of Twelve Syrahs

At Snooth's tasting room I had the opportunity to sample 12 Syrahs selected by Greg Dal Piaz. They were all 100% Syrah varietal, so it still amazes me how much of a range there was in the flights. A few common threads were the high alcohol content (a 14.57% average), full body, dark fruits, black pepper and spices. (Please note all bottles were opened 2.5 hours before tasting). So here they are, a powerfully dirty dozen.

2006 Neyers Napa Valley California - Hudson Vineyards Syrah 14.1% - $40

On the nose a funky barnyard waft and later opened but showed a medicinal aroma, while up front on the palate dark sour cherries and mainly black pepper in the mid palate.

2004 Burgess Napa Valley Syrah 14.7% - $20

Perfumed aromas, lilac, and a playful candy twist, fresh-cut wood or bark peeled back, green peppers, spices and a bit of raw onions with a cola finish. Liked it.

2005 LaTour Vineyards Napa Valley California Syrah 14.8% - $26.50

On the nose mushrooms and turned soil, black cherries and tannic structure.

2006 Alesia Santa Lucia Highlands California Fairview Ranch Vineyard Syrah 14.25% - $60

On the nose getting vinegar, sulphur, cat pee, and meats, while on the palate dark fruits, coffee, chocolate and blackberry...with smooth integration of flavors somewhat redeeming the rough aromas.

2006 Snoqualme Columbia Valley Washington State Syrah 13.9% - $12

Muted aromas of dried herbs lead into a diluted texture and a palate of ash, wood, blueberries, dried fruits and a dusty glycerine.

2006 Luca Laborde Double Select Syrah Uco Valley Mendoza, Argentina 13.9% - $25

Simple bouquet of toasted red fruit and barnyard, balanced, chewy, white pepper, blueberries with great finish... very nice.

2006 Stolpman Santa Ynez Valley Estate Syrah 15.1% - $30

On the nose, herbal and violets with specks of meat, flavors of sweet stewed tomatoes, white pepper, alcohol, red fruits and candy. Good one.

2005 Firestone Santa Ynez Valley California Syrah 13.5% - $18

Nose of petrol, oak, butter with a subtle diluted leather, fizzles on the midpalate.

2004 Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Valley California Estate Syrah 14.5% - $20

Strawberries, meat, herbs, burnt rubber, dust, wood, fairly balanced.

2006 Dry Stack Cellars (aka Grey Stack) Dry Stack Vineyard Bennett Valley California Marie's Block Syrah 15.5% - $40

Earthy mushroom, meat, barnyard, black pepper, blackberries, sharp ripe fruits and very high alcohol.

2006 Grey Stack - Dry Stack Vineyard - Bennett Valley California The Narcissist Syrah 15.8% $48

Muted aromas of raw meat, on the palate alcohol, stout tannins, oak, chalky mid-palate, and a sour cherry finish.

2006 Four Vines Santa Barbara County California los Alamos Vineyard - One Tree Hill Block Syrah 14.8% $36

Bigger and fruity with cherry cola on the nose and a palate of violets, spices... medicinal but in a natural way, very herbal finish... my favorite of the twelve.


Philip said...

I find wines with high alcohol such a turn off. They generally lack balance, and numb your palate. It seems that new world wines are guiltier than European wines.

This tasting would have been more interesting if a few European Syrahs were tasted, such as a St. Joseph from northern Rhone.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the entry.

Eric G said...

Great report for someone like me that knows hardly anything about Cali syrah. i was wondering though, out of all of these bottles, what did you feel was your favorite?

Dave Trieger said...

My favorite was the last one sampled, the 2006 Four Vines Santa Barbara County California los Alamos Vineyard - One Tree Hill Block Syrah