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.

2016 K Vintners Syrah Powerline Estate, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

One of my favorite Washington Syrahs, the 2016 is right up there.  These are big Syrahs, especially for Washington, but they will come down with age.  inky purple in color, ruby at the rim.  Opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black pepper and a slight floral (violets?) note.  Full bodied.  Wonderful, juicy texture.  Tons of black raspberry fruit on the palate with an underlying roasted herb note.

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah North Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is one of the great values in Syrah.  I drink these while waiting on the single vineyard wines to mature.  Unfortunately, that means I rarely get a chance to let this age past a couple years.  Somehow, this one lasted, so good for me!  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, slight black olives and spice.  On the palate, this is medium to full bodied.  Nice black raspberry fruit with underlying char.  Some depth and complexity.  Light tannins.  Very fresh.  Nice finish.  Seems like it could easily go another seven to ten years.  A nice match for India

2007 Lagier Meredith Syrah, USA, California, Napa, Mt. Veeder, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

I am a huge fan of the eponymous winery of Steve Lagier and Carole Meredith.  They make some wonderful wines on their remote property in the mountains of Napa.  And they are great values.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, smoked meats, slight floral note and baking spices.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Lots of black cherry and black raspberry fruit with underlying char and slight earthiness.  Nice At age 13, this seems close to peak but may yet improve.  Either way, it should have ten to twelve years before slowly fading.  This w

2016 Keplinger Vermillion, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is the second label for Helen Keplinger.  The grapes are sourced 69% from the Sierra Foothills and 31% from Sonoma County.  It is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Counoise and Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a great value in California blends.  Purple in color.  The nose has a lot going on with black raspberries, plums, some cassis and cherries along with a bit of spice and roasted meat.  On the palate, plenty of black raspberry fruit, some sherries over a charred earth quality.  Lush texture.  Delicious and easy drinking but with a bit of complexity to it.  Medium tan

2016 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

What a great showing for this wine.  Yes, it is still a bit young, but really one of the best showings from this house I have seen.  Time to get a few more bottles.  It is 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault.  Purple in color, ruby at the core.  The nose is great with black raspberries, baking spices, garrique and slight lavender.  Full bodied.  Luxurious texture.  Rich and full bodied.  Medium tannins.  Lots of concentrated black raspberry fruit over a bed of char and gravel.  Long finish.  Delicious.  One of those wine when each sip makes one want another.  It drinks g

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin's Lair, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$43.00USD

This is drinking quite well now.  A great example of a cooler climate Syrah from California.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Boysenberry fruit with char underneath and a slightly meaty taste.  Medium to full bodied.  A wisp of tannins.  Nice acidity.  Long finish.  This is great with roasted veggies (and would be with meat or fowl) and would also work with Indian food.  No hurry, this should be good for another seen to ten years.  

1999 Arietta Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

On release, these were big, bold wines made, at least in part, by John Kongsgaard.  Of course, its now 21 years since vintage and one wold be hard pressed to call this anything but right bank if tasting blind.  Part of that is one doesn't expect a Napa Merlot to age this well.  It does have 10% Syrah in the blend so that may be part of it.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is dusty with cherries, black cherries, slight cedar and some earthy funk.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black cherry fruit with a touch of dark chocolate and underlying earthiness.  This is complex and also vib

2012 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is one of the best Syrah's out of Sonoma County.  It is built for the long haul so make sure to let it rest in the cellar or give it plenty of air.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, roasted meats and slight root beer note which was interesting.  Full bodied.  On the palate, lots of black raspberry fruit starting to layer with a charred earthiness and slight bacon notes.  This still has medium tannins.  Great balance and energy.  Long finish.  This may yet improve, but is more likely about as good as it will get.  No hurry, this

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