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.

2013 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Truly one of the great Syrah vineyards in the world, James Berry Vineyard is the home of Saxum, but Justin does sell off some fruit and Mike Office gets some for his Carlisle winery.  Purple in color, dense and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper, slight roasted herbs and hints of roasted meat.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Still young with firm tannins, it opens in the glass showing black raspberries over char with a slight peppery note.  Good balance.  Bright acidity.  Long finish.  This should still develop further but no harm opening now although a few hou

2009 Epoch Estate Wines Sensibility Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is a blend from Paso Robles.  It is 75% Grenache, 21% Mourvedre and 4% Syrah.  At age ten, it is still youthful but drinking great.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, graphite, black pepper and spice.  On the palate, this is big and full bodied.  Slight tannins.  Lots of black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Great mouth feel.  Long finish.  This drinks great on its own and will work with roasts or grilled foods.  It will drink well for the next ten to twelve years.  

2015 Christopher Tynan Wines Syrah Judge Family Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Tynan makes a top cab for which he is probably better known for.  This was my first time trying this wine and it is impressive.  Inky purple in color.  Opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper, slight bacon fat and roasted herbs.  With air, a slight lavender/violet comes out.  Wonderful lush but energetic texture.  Delicious.  Firm tannins.  This is still young but drinking wonderfully on its own.  Black raspberries layered with pepper and charred earth.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  This will continue to improve for the next five to seven years and be at peak for a

2015 Domaine de la Mordorée Lirac Cuvée de la Reine des Bois, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is always one of the better values in Rhone wines.  They make two cuvees, this being the better of the two.  This is a blend of  40% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 30% Mourvèdre.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black cherries, plums, spice and smoked herbs.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Complex.  The fruits carry thru.  Light tannins.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This drinks well on its own but also works well with a wide variety of foods.  Works with casseroles, pizza or grilled foods.  It will continue to mature for a couple more year

NV J. Bookwalter Notebook 13NV Red Blend, USA, Washington, Columbia Valley

Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

This is a multi-vintage, multi grape cuvee.  It is released on a regular basis, this being the 13th iteration.  It is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 12% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Mourvedre.  This is really quite good and an excellent value.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is dusty and warm with nice black cherry fruit.  On the palate, the black cherries come thru along with some sour cherries.  Medium tannins.  Moderate finish.  This rinks quite easily and would be a nice choice for parties.  It will go with all but the lightest of foods.  Drink over the next couple of y

2017 Saint-Cosme Côtes du Rhône, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$14.00USD

This is somewhat of a rarity in CdR as it is 100% Syrah.  This is also consistently one of the better values in Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, garrigue (an herbal/spice combination found in the Rhone), and black pepper.  Medium bodied.  Nice acidity.  A bit more austere than prior vintages but that's fine.  More than enough stuffing.  On the palate, black raspberries, black pepper and slight roasted herbs.  Good finish.  This might even get a bit better with just a hint of age.  This should drink well for the next five to seven years.  It will work well w

2012 Halcon Vineyards Esquisto, USA, California, Mendocino, Yorkville Highlands, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$27.00USD

This is a blend of 65% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries and plums along with some spice and earthy funk.  On the palate, this is complex.  Layers of black cherries and black raspberries with damp earthiness.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This is drinking very well right now.  It should be at this level for another five to ten years.  It goes well with roasts and casseroles.  

2015 Keplinger Vermillion, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is the "second label" of star winemaker Helen Keplinger's home winery.  It is made from 31% Sonoma Grapes and 69% Sierra Foothills Grapes.  A blend of 55% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah, and 5% Petite Sirah.  A delicious wine.  Purple in color with ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, spice, gravel and slight plums and earth.  On the palate, this is full bodied but very lively with lots of energy.  Black raspberries dominate at the moment but the black cherries are also present.  There is also a layer of gravel and scorched earth that is a lovely counte

2018 Château Coupe Roses Minervois La Bastide, France, Languedoc, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$13.00USD

This is a blend of 48% Carignan, 46% Grenache and 6% Syrah.  Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose is warm with nice cherry fruit.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  slightly silky texture.  The palate has cherry fruit with a bit or herbal notes underneath.  There is warmth on the finish.  This drink ok on its own and would work with burgers or stews.  

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