Sexy, Spicy Syrah
Tasting room tip: when tasting Syrah, for your own safety’s sake, Do NOT start singing “Que Sera, Sera.” All of us wine servers have heard it a few times too many, and someone just might vault over the bar and throttle you. There. You have been warned.
That said, Syrah is a wonderful red wine – it tends to be bold, spicy and full-bodied (no, I’m not talking about myself here, but I sure could be…), with abundant black and red fruit flavors. Try pairing this robust varietal with hearty fare, such as grilled meats, sausages, stews and chili. Or just enjoy it with a good, spicy novel, maybe even my novel, when I finally finish it and get it published.
OK, on to the wines…I tasted a goodly handful of Syrahs from all over California and the following were my favorites:
Thomas George Estates
2008 Russian River Valley $40
This stunning Syrah is big, bold, dark and sexy, with abundant black cherry, black berry, plum and peppery spice aromas and flavors. That new guy on the Old Spice commercials should be selling this wine!
2007 Axiom, Alegría Vineyards, Russian River Valley $29
Samuel L. Jackson, lounging in a half-open velvet smoking jacket, is offering you a sip of his mocha (that’s what this wine reminds me of). Mouthwatering aromas of mocha, orange peel, spice potpourri and ripe blackberries jump out of the glass and lure you into a lush, richly textured mouthful of consistent flavors.
2008 Sextant Vineyard, Paso Robles $36
This wine is like Catherine Zeta-Jones smoking a clove cigarette, poured into a burgundy satin dress. Rose petals are strewn all around her feet. She pops a square of dark chocolate into her generous mouth and smiles at you, beckoning…
OK – back to the wine…chocolate, rose, spice and smoke aromas and flavors abound.
Manzanita Creek Winery
2007 De Luxe, Sonoma Coast $30
This stunning wine is as dark as the shadows in Rick’s Café American in the movie Casa Blanca. Of all the Syrahs in all the glasses in the world, I had to taste this one. Dark chocolate, coffee, blackberries and a whiff of smoke all play nicely together.
2009, Lodi $16
This stylish Syrah reminded me of visiting the cologne counter at Macy’s – masculine scents of cedar, peppery spice and wood smoke lead into a velvety, densely textured mouthful of spice and black fruit flavors.
2008 Steinbeck Vineyard, Paso Robles $21
What a pretty Syrah! Clove studded orange, pumpkin pie spice, blackberry with a little slap of leather delight the nose and mouth. Sumptuous mouthfeel.