Posts Tagged ‘Syrah’

Recent wine reviews have gone so far as comparing Syrah as the bigger, bolder cousin to Pinot Noir.  There are reports of Wine Sommeliers labeling the Syrah section of their wine list as ‘Syrah, what “Big Pinot” wants to be.’  The upside, if you like big Pinots and like to save a few bucks, try rekindling your love of Syrah.  Our Featured Wine of the Week includes a 2-year vertical of cool-climate Syrah’s from the Sierra Foothills. We also have a Syrah/Cab Franc blend from the Sierra Foothills included in this promotion.  Get all 3 bottles for $25.  As an added bonus, get a case of wine for $100 and shipping is included in the sales price for CA, OR and NV.  50% off case shipping fees for all other states.  Go to the website to purchase.


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Discounted 30% and free shipping for one week only.


This flagship wine comes from side-by-side blocks planted on the very top ridge of Tierra Alta where the afternoon winds gets stronger and the limestone-infused soil gets thinner. The fruit was handpicked just before dawn, then carefully sorted before it was laid down nice and cold in 1.5 ton open top fermenters. 80% of the fruit was de-stemmed, and 20% was left whole cluster. This entire picking, sorting, and destemming effort is finished by around 8:30 am.  The Syrah has two different clones of Syrah ENTAV Clone 877 (80%) and UC Davis Clone 1 (20%) and just a touch of Viognier (2%) to add elegance and lift to the finished wine.

Our tasting Notes:
Clear dark ruby red color. This wine has medium viscosity with clear tear drops. It has great focus with blackberries and a smokey bacon nose. The tastes are similar along with some pepper that was not picked up before. Well structured, the wine has a velvety feel in the mouth. Nice medium-long finish.

Click here to find out more about this wine

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This week we are offering pre-release prices on the 2006 Syrah on Indie WinemakersVIE Winery – 2006 “Les Amours” Syrah. Only 150 Cases Produced. Not available in retail stores. $33.50 and only available at indie winemakers website.

“Gold Medal” winner from the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition. You can see the results at 2008 Award Winners in the Syrah Category $35 and over. Bryan Kane, ‘Syrah Specialist’, took 3 of the top 11 spots for his VIE and Sol Rouge Syrah wines including a Double Gold tying for “Best of Class”. Rober Parker loved the VIE Les Amours last year describing it as “[O]utstanding, personality-filled…reveals loads of black fruits intermixed with a smoky, meaty component. With outstanding intensity, purity and texture, sweet fruit and ripe tannin, it should drink well for 3-4 years.” 90 points, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Get it before Robert Parker’s review of this year’s vintage comes out and it’s gone!

“Les Amours” is a blend of Syrah from the Thompson and White Hawk vineyards with a little Mourvèdre and Grenache from the Alta Mesa vineyard for structure.

It pays to play up to Syrah’s spice (suggestive of black pepper and smoky incense), and this can be done with use of aromatics like garlic, peppercorns and peppers (bells as well as chiles), cinnamon and clove, all mushrooms, mustards, ginger, bay, basil, mints, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

We suggest the 06 “Les Amours” Syrah be paired with Free Range Lamb Chops in a Cherry-Syrah Reduction Sauce.

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Featured Wine Of The Week – 2005 Clacareous Vineyards Syrah

10% off Retail and free shipping for Mailing List members.

  • 2008 Double Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • 2008 Double Gold, Central Coast Wine Competition
  • 2008 Gold Medal, 94 pts., BTI World Wine Competition

    About The Featured Wine

    The 2005 Syrah was produced from Kiler Canyon Vineyard, a small single vineyard located on the Westside of Paso Robles. The vineyard is dedicated to Rhone varietals and is planted to specific clones of Syrah and Viognier.

    Summary of Tasting Event

    This 2005 Syrah was tasted on Oct 10, 2008 by a panel of 7 tasters in a blind tasting format. The winery suggests it be paired with BBQ meat or spicy meat. Carne Guisada con Papas (meat & potatoes) is our suggested pairing for this wine. The recipie is on the website.

    This was the groups’ favorite wine of the evening. We were all impressed with the full-bodied nature of the wine. More importantly, the bigness did not impact the smoothness of this wine. Look out Hermitage, this has the makings of another “Bottle Shock” story.

    We noted classic Syrah characteristics with concentrated flavors of black fruits, raspberry and black pepper. There are subtle oak influences on this wine. A long finish.

To read more, go to Indie Winemaker’s Website.

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The annual Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Festival featured the wines of 100+ members of the Association.  The weather was in the mid 50’s and felt more like the 40’s with the wind.  The festival as well laid out and we didn’t find any lines to try the wines.  In large events like these, you typically don’t run into the winemakers.  At this event, all seemed to be in attendance. 

Interaction with the winemakers gave Indie Winemakers’ staff the opportunity to learn more about the different AVA’s and microclimates found within Santa Barbara County.  For example, Lompoc (pronounced Lom Poke) also known as the Santa Rita Hills AVA has a cool costal climate and many of the Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs come from here.  Just 15 minutes in land, you will find Solvang, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez AVAs suited to Rhone Varietals.  This area is hotter and drier.

We had an interesting conversation with a winemaker on rootstock and vine clones.  You may have seen this information in winemakers’ technical data on a wine you have purchased.  A rootstock is a plant (usually just the stump) that has established a root system to nourish the vine clone being grafted.  Growers choose the rootstock based on the varietal, soil and climate.  Most Cabs for example use a drought resistant rootstock. Vine clones are numbered or named after someone.  These clones can produce an amazing variety of flavors for the same grape varietal.  For example, consider the number and type of apples we have available.  All are apples but each type provides a very different taste.  This is the same with grapes.

There were many wineries in attendance and too large to name them all.  Below is a list of the smaller produces we visited and merit further review:
Au Bon Climat  – A winery known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Beckmen Vineyards –  Santa Ynez mountains, great Rhone varietals.  Check out the Mountain Grenache.
Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery – Featured on Sideways, this winery is kicking out some great Chardonnay.  They are also know for the highly regarded Harmmonie but were obviously not pouring it at the event.
Carina Cellars – Known for their Syrah but heard the Iconclast (not tasted) which is a Cab Syrah blend is a must try.
Epiphany Cellars – Produces single vineyard wines to accentuate the terroir’s influence to the varietal.  Great Syrah’s along with lots of awards for the Rhone blend called Revelation.
Firestone Vineyards – Met with winemaker Kevin Willenborg at the event.  Tried the lesser know varietals that they produce; Chardonnay and Syrah.  Both were excellent!
Gainey Vineyard – Great Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noirs poured at the event.
Melville – Another Santa Rita Hills winery known for great Pinot Noirs.
Ovene Winery – This winery sources grapes through out Santa Barbara County.  They had a really nice Viogner and Chardonnay for the event.
Paige 23 Wines – Unique wines that are produced with food in mind.  Trying to enhance, not overpower the food, these wines had focused fruit flavors.  The Syrah had a small amount of Viogner added for acid balance.  Keep an eye out for this wine.
Presidio Vineyards and Winery – Certified organic and biodynamic vineyards, this produces makes small lot wines suited to the micro climates they grow in.  Loved the estated Syrah from the cool climate of the Santa Rita hills.
 Stolpman Vineyards – Also known as a source for great grapes for other premier winemakers, Stolpman keeps a few tons for their own label.  The Estate Syrah has all the classic components of pepper and spice along with a very balance dark berry fruit flavor.  Would love to try the Hilltop Syrah some day.

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