Top Ten California Syrahs - 2016

I tend to taste and drink a lot of wine over the course of a year. I am in a few tasting groups, sometimes the wines are consumed at various local wine store tastings and a number drunk with friends and family.

2006 Hedges Family Estate Three Vineyards Red Mountain, Washington, Wine Review

This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a little Syrah from three different vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA or Washington state.  At 12 years from vintage it seems to be in a great spot although it should have at least 5 more years before starting to slowly go downhill.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with cherries, coffee, leather, slight chocolate, cassis and tobacco.  On the palate, this is still fresh with lot of fruit; cherries and black raspberries.  Layers of fruit, damp earth and tobacco.  Nice finish.  This is not a big wine, but not shy either.  Wo

2011 Saxum Broken Stones, USA, California, Paso Robles Wine Review

For most newer vintages of Saxum, they need 10 years of cellaring to get close to maturity.  The 2011's are, however, a bit more precocious.  This one was firing on all cylinders.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight bacon fat, roasted meats, and white pepper.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Light on its feet, but packing a punch.  Great boysenberry fruit.  An underlying pepperyness.  Long finish.  Worked great with grilled foods.  There is still some upside to holding this, but its drinking beautifully right now.  

2013 Buoncristiani Syrah Artistico, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is deep with black raspberries, blood and grilled meats.  Some vanilla and spice and black pepper.  On the palate, this is deep and tight.  Delicious.  Black raspberries.  Plenty of tannins.  Long finish.  This is quite young and tight but it has bold black raspberry fruit.  Probably should hold for a few more years and then drink over the next decade plus.  Impressive.  This retails for around $55 which is a fair price.  

2015 Domaine Coursodon St. Joseph La Sensonne, France, Rhone, Wine Review

2015 is considered a very ripe year in the Northern Rhone.  Most seem to think it a great vintage but some old school drinkers have issue with the ripeness.  There is no right answer but plan accordingly.  This is on the big and ripe side.  Purple in color, a thin line of ruby at the rim.  Great nose of black raspberries, bacon fat, and slight grilled meats.  On the palate, this is deep with tons of black raspberry fruit.  Medium tannins.  It unwinds in the glass.  It won't peak for at lest a decade and be good for at least another after that.  Still, today it is delicious.  

2015 Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet (Hervé Souhaut) St. Joseph Les Cessieux, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Purple, ruby at the rim.  The nose has dusty black cherries, spice and slight violets.  On the palate, this has black raspberries with slight black pepper.  A streak of earthiness under it all.  This is a big, fruit forward wine.  It is still young and should develop over the next two decades (probably peaking after one).  Good acidity.  Would work well with bigger foods.  Nice finish.  Certainly a ripe wine, it might be a bit controversial among Rhone fans, but this is excellent.  Certainly has some upside potential.  

2010 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

From Magnum.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, plums, grilled meat, white pepper and char.  On the palate, this has an incredible texture.  Smooth and velvety yet powerful and muscular.  Notes of black raspberries, spice and slight charred earth.  This is deep and complex yet still has a long life left.  This vintage has opened and shut a few times since release but seem like it has settled and is open.  There is a lot of alcohol but it doesn't show up anywhere in the glass.  One of those wines that each sip makes you want to have another.  Spectacular wine. 

2007 Clos des Brusquières Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

This is really in a nice place right now.  Mature but enough fresh fruit to keep it edgy.  Ruby in color, purple at the core.  The nose has opened up on this showing black cherries, cherries, and plums along with spice and slight dried floral notes.  On the palate, there is plenty of vibrant black cherry fruit.  Deep with layers that open up quickly.  Good acidity.  Nice balance.  No hurry but I think a few more years and it starts moving the other direction.  Works well with a wide variety of foods.  A great example of why cellaring top wines in ripe vintages might be a good strategy.  

2005 Jaffurs Syrah Upslope, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

This is a special blend made from the best barrels of Jaffur's Thompson, Verna's and Bien Nacido Vineyards.  Deep purple in color.  The nose is very nice.  Black raspberries, grilled meat with a bit of burnt crust, and white pepper.  On the palate, this is seriously ripe.  It will not be for everyone.  Not so much powerful (although it is) bit ripe/sweet.  It took some time to get used to and then it was wonderful.  Sweet and jammy black raspberry fruit.  There is some depth here.  Still drinking quite young.  Nice finish.  This makes a great drink on the back deck but may prove to be a mor

2009 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Having had the 2006 just a few days prior to this, it was surprising how much younger and tighter this was.  It does seem like there was a bit of a style shift starting in 2007 and rather than the wines really opening up at age 5, it is now closer to 10.  This one took a few hours to really open and then was singing if still on the youthful side.  Inky purple in color.

Pages