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.

2018 Emiliana Coyam, Chile, Colchagua Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is a blend of 42% Syrah, 39% Carmenere, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Garnacha, 3% Malbec, 1% Tempranillo, and 1% Mourvedre.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose has boysenberries, black pepper, black cherries and spice.  Very smooth yet varietally complex on the palate.  Light tannins.  Notes of boysenberries and black cherries with underlying char.  Long finish.  This is quite tasty.  Drink over the next ten to twelve years.  Nice on its own, this is even better with food.  Steak, chops or ribs off the grill is a nice choice.  

NV Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Red Blend, Chile, Maipo Valley, Wine Review

Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

It is not clear if this is a vintage wine.  The back label states "Assemblage 2018".  It is a blend of 31% Cabernet Franc, 26% Syrah, 22% Carmenere, 11% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Made from organic grapes.  Garnet in color, clear and bright.  The nose has black cherries with an interesting minty streak.  Also some black pepper and a slight floral not with a bit of air.  On the palate, medium tannins.  Notes of black cherries and black raspberries.  Some peppery notes.  Nice finish.  This improved with about an hour of air.  Somewhat complex and very interesting.  This should drink

2017 Keplinger Hangman's, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$69.00USD

Very impressive Syrah with about 5% Viognier added.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, blueberries, white pepper, black olive and roasted meat.  Full bodied.  On the palate, the black raspberries and blueberries are intense but concentrated.  A bit of pepper and some underlying char and meatiness.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This will still get a bit better but is drinking well now.  Maybe another five years of cellaring and drink for fifteen to twenty after that.  This drinks well on its own and will work well with fattier meat dishes and stews.  

2016 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Ballard Canyon, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

From on of the top Syrah vineyards in Santa Barbara County.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight bacon fat, black olives and roasted herbs.  Wonderful texture.  Juicy acidity.  On the palate, black raspberry fruit with underlying char and slight dry earthiness.  This is delicious if a bit young.  This will get a bit better over the next few years.  Let it cellar for another five years and drink for ten to twelve after that.  It will drink great on its own and work well with roasted pork or even Indian food.  

2013 Castra Rubra Syrah Nimbus Premium, Bulgaria, Thracian Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This was the wine of the tasting at a recent tasting of Bulgarian wines (though they all showed well).  Globetrotting enologist Michel Rolland is the consulting winemaker at this winery.  Like many of his wines, this bold and fruit forward is going strong at age eight.  This is inky purple  in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black olives, roasted meats and roasted veggies.  Full bodied.  Intense.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this is complex.  Layers of black raspberry fruit, char and slight earthiness.  Good balance.  Long finish.  This drinks well o

2016 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave St. Joseph, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$85.00USD

Nice showing for this although still on the youthful side.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, slightly meaty with b lack olives.  Full bodied.  Great liveliness.  Nice texture.  On the palate, black raspberries with underlying char and just a bit of black olives.  Nice finish.  This should continue to improve for another three to five years and drink well for ten to twelve more after that.  This drinks well on its own and even better with food.  Stews or chili is a nice choice.  

2015 Saxum Terry Hoage Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$100.00USD

This is a blend of 50% Syrah, 34% Grenache, 16% Mourvedre checking in at 15.7% ABV.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, plums, black pepper, slight roasted herbs and meats and a bit of violets.  Full bodied.  Great lush texture but with lively acidity.  So easy to drink with no noticeable alcohol on the nose or palate.  Black raspberries over roasted earth with some herbs.  Long finish.  This is young but accessible.  It should continue to improve over the next three to seven years and drink well for another ten to fifteen after that.  It dri

1999 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d'Ampuis, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

Purchased on release and well cellared.  Pop and pour, the cork was stained about half way up but not compromised.  The first sip really grabs one's attention.  Deep garnet in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, lots of earthiness, black cherries and a bit of roasted meats.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is complex and layered.  Lots of vibrant fruit; black raspberries and black cherries.  Great balance.  Seems to be just about at mature peak.  Nice finish.  The bottle improved over a few hours before just starting to tail off.  Drink over the nex

2019 United Ink Red Blend, USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

At a recent tasting of United Ink Wines, this was the runaway crowd favorite.  It is a blend of 60% Merlot, 20% Syrah, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington state.  Garnet in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, chocolate and slight black raspberry.  Mice mouthfeel.  Light to medium tannins.  On the palate, nice black raspberry and black cherries fruit with some chocolate.  Firm tannins on the finish.  This is delicious.  It drinks (easy).  Great on its own, this would be great with a burger or other foods off the grill.  Drink over the next five year

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