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.

2008 Rhys Syrah Skyline Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

This wine is a testament to the many different profiles of Syrah.  For the most part this drinks cooler climate, but then boom, a bit of warm California sunshine peeks out.  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, char and black pepper.  With air some leather and black olives come out.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.  Good structure.  Seems to be drinking very well now and close-ish to peak.  Easily another decade left.  Light tannins.  Boysenberries over minerals.  But then a bit grilled meats too.  Nice acidity.  Nice finish.  Rhys is a producer more know for its Pinot Noir

2006 Hundred Acre Vineyard Shiraz Summer's Block Ancient Way, Australia, Barossa, Wine Review

One of the better Shiraz out there.  At 12 years from vintage, this was in a beautiful place.  It is still youthful and will easily go another decade or more.  Inky purple in color. The nose has black raspberries, iodine, black pepper, violets and slight grilled meats. On the palate, this has a lovely texture; glycerin and full bodied but with good acidity that cuts through.  Lots of black raspberry fruit, light tannins and underlying minerality.  Worked well with food.  Nice finish.  Proof that at least some of the huge Shiraz bombs will stand the test of time.  

2015 K Vintners Syrah The Hidden Northridge Vineyard, USA, Washington, Wahluke Slope, Wine Review

This is quite good but needs a bit of cellar time to hit its potential.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, leather and slight white pepper.  It seems tight and tannic on the palate.  With air it has pretty sweet black raspberry fruit with some charred meat and an underlying mineral streak.  Good finish.  This has plenty of upside but if drinking before 2020, give it a nice decant.  

2015 K Vintners Syrah The Beautiful, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

This is 97% Syrah with 3% viognier cofermented from the Powerline Vineyard.  This drinks in the style of the Northern Rhone but with a new world flair that works.  It should improve with a few years of cellaring.  Ruby in color, purple at the core.  The nose has black raspberries, black olives and a nice minerality lurking in the backround.  On the palate, this is softer in texture.  Nice black raspberry fruit, slight black pepper and underlying char.  Slight tannins that come out more with air.  Good finish.  This needs heartier foods but has the acidity to work well them.  

2015 K Vintners Cabernet Syrah Powerline Vineyard, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

Stunning bottle of wine.  100% Syrah.  Ruby/purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight black pepper, a nice earthy note.  With air, some black olives emerge along with a nice mineral backbone.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black raspberries, black licorice, and underlying char and minerals.  Medium tannins.  Long finish.  This is intense, and concentrated and will need a few years to really open up but it is drinking great today.  It needs hearty or spiced foods.  Fantastic with upside.  

2015 K Vintners The Creator, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black raspberries, and sandal wood.  Also an herbal note that was hard to describe.  A fellow taster said green olives and that is not too far off.  On the palate, the Syrah seem to dominate although this is an 80/20 blend of Cabernet and Syrah.  Black raspberries, an underlying char and some black olive notes.  A very nice texture although a bit soft.  The finish is a bit bitter black raspberry but not in a bad way.  Overall, an excellent wine.  It improved with air and more Cab notes seem to come out.  It will be interesting to see how this ages.  

2015 Bird in Hand Shiraz, Australia, Adelaide Hills, Wine Review

Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries and black olives.  On the palate, this is very Northern Rhonish.  Black raspberry, nice depth.  Some complexity.  Medium tannins.  Good balance.  Long finish.  This needs time and there is a chance for upside improvement.  Right now it is a big, energetic young wine.  It will need bigger (meaty) to pair with.

2009 Clarendon Hills Syrah Piggott Range Vineyard, Australia, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is very tight.  With air, black raspberry jam and some spice.  On the palate, this has a lot of black raspberry fruit but the finish is a bit clipped.  Soft texture.  OK finish.  This is a very solid wine, but it is having some trouble ageing.  It retailed for $70 on release and was probably a bit better back then.  Perhaps some slow airing will give it some time to come together.  It needs big meat dishes for food pairings.  

2014 Torbreck Shiraz The Struie, Australia, Barossa, Wine Review

Inky purple in color and shiny bright.  The nose has clay and black raspberries.  On the palate, this is tight but with air, it unwinds in the glass.  Black raspberry fruit.  Slight tannins.  Nice finish.  Needs bigger foods.  This retails for $55.  It needs a couple more years to settle down or give it a few years of a decant.  

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