I went to my first “Meetup” for #Syrah Day yesterday. I’d done another cyber-event prior to this one (#Zinfandel Day – We had friends come by the house for a glass or three of Zinfandel), but I’ve been looking forward experiencing a meet up at a winery. As it so happens, JC Cellars, an urban winery in Oakland, CA, fresh off a boatload of 90+ scores from the Wine Advocate, hosted a meetup for #Syrah Day. According to Joe Czerwinski of Wine Enthusiast:
The idea behind these sorts of events is to get a large number of people cyberbuzzing about a topic and hopefully increase knowledge and engagement levels on a larger scale than if there were no particular focus.
It seems as if Syrah has got a bit of an image issue. It could use some love. Some predicted years ago that it would be the next “big thing” in wine, but reality has fallen short of expectations. Personally, I’m not sure why. Sure, a great glass of Cab is a treat, but I happen to find Syrah to be a much more versatile food wine, that generally cost less at comparable quality levels.
Besides bringing particular wine into focus, following such a cyber-event can be a great way to get recommendations about that type of wine!
Here is last night’s tasting menu:
Overall impression: This one exceeded my expectations! It was a wonderful showcase of Syrahs with fruit from diverse appellations, including a couple that had a combination of both French and California fruit. It was a treat to taste through Syrahs (2001, 2003, and 2005)with some age on them to experience first-hand how well these Syrahs have aged. If the 2001-2005 wines are any indication, all 2006-2008 vintages will age quite well. I wish I could tell you the best part was that it was all at no-cost, but the best part were the sensational wines!
My tasting notes follow:
2005 Ventana Syrah; Appellation-Arroyo Seco; Deep garnet color. Nose offers dark fruits, spice and oak. A tad warm on the nose. On the palate blackberries, significant minerality, refined tannins. Medium bodied with nice balance of fruit, acids, and tannins. Short finish
2006 Stagecoach Syrah; Appellation-California/Napa Valley; Deep garnet color. Nose offers dark fruit, spice and minerals. On the palate, ripe blackberry, coffee, and a bit of earth. Full bodied with very good balance, and medium finish.
2007 Caldwell Syrah; Appellation-California/Napa Valley; Deep garnet color. Nose offers dark fruit, spice, anise, mocha. On the palate, medium full bodied. Complex, balanced blend of blackberry, spice and dark chocolate. Leathery tannins at this point. Long finish.
Pour Quoi Pas; Appellation-California/Sonoma/Rockpile and France Cote-Rotie; Dark ruby color. Intriguing nose offers dark fruit, spice box, and a distinct floral note (lavender?). On the palate approaching medium bodied, round with berries, spice, dusty tannins, and a long finish. My #3 wine of the evening.
2008 So Rerine Rockpile Syrah; Appellation-California/Sonoma/Rockpile; Inky purple color; Reluctant nose offers dark fruit, spice, a touch of smoked bacon, and floral notes. On the palate blackberry/dark cherry cobbler, and spice. Some youthful tannins I expect with resolve with time. Medium finish. I’d love to get me taste this on 3-5 year down the line. This one was interesting because the budwood is from Cote Rotie.
2008 Buffalo Hill Syrah; Appellation-California/Sonoma/Rockpile; Inky purple color; Nose offers blackberry, dark cherries, spice and a faint floral note. On the palate blackberry, cassis, minerals, and bacon fat. Bold, yet showing wonderful balance. Long finish. My #1 wine of the evening.
“Jeff Surprise” was wine from Jeff Cohn, the winemaker’s cellar – 2001 Cuvee Gaillard; Appellation-California/Monterey & France/Rhone/St. Joseph; Dark ruby color. Nose offers floral, and spice notes along with dark cherry fruit. On the palate black cherries, white pepper, minerals, and vanilla. Balanced, elegant wine with a long finish. Great example of how well Syrah can age! This wine had offered the best aromas for me. Many inquired if the wine was available for purchase. Unfortunately, it’s not. Jeff said he only has 6 bottles left in his cellar. My #2 wine of the evening.
Have you participated in a wine-related cyber-event? What did you think?
Other reading your might find interesting :
What’s the problem with Syrah? (Steve Heimoff)
Syrah is Awesome! Now how Do We Sell It? (Drink the Good Stuff)
Que Syrah Syrah (ENOFYLZ wine blog)