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.

2012 SonkinCellars Persona, USA, California, Wine Review

WARNING - Biased review.  This is our most difficult child.  Huge bottle variation on this one and it has to be related to storage at all points in the delivery line.  Despite having had the wine tested for Brettanomyces (yeast) it is a problem in some bottles for some drinkers.  And that is the problem with Brett and why we tested.  All wine has it to some extent, and if the wine gets warm it blooms (it is a yeast).  In this bottling it is sporadic and its been difficult to ascertain why.  Of course, some people like that barnyard quality, so inevitably, they are the ones with the cleanest

2011 SonkinCellars Persona, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

WARNING - Biased review.  2011 was a difficult vintage.  The fruit was bursting open on the sorting line.  It never got as ripe as we wanted.  We ended up putting in a bit of Petite Sirah from Lodi to get the final wine where we wanted it to be.  This was the only vintage with PS in it.  In the end, we really liked the wine and were proud of the final product.  It is an outlier in many respects from our other wines though.  This wine has drunk well from the start whereas most of our wines have needed time.  Now at age 7, I think it is mid-peak.  It won't get any better and should be at this

2010 SonkinCellars Persona, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

WARNING - Biased Review.  this wine continues to drink well now that it has finally re-awoken from its slumber.  Purple in color.  The nose is very nice with black olives, black raspberries, roasted meats and slight floral notes.  Except for the bright fruit, it shows very northern Rhone-like.  On the palate, this is deep with layers that unwind in the glass.  Earthy notes along with black raspberry fruit.  Good acidity.  Works with heartier foods.  This is closing in on peak but should have a decade left so no hurry.  A bit of air before serving is a good idea but this no longer needs a lo

2010 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas, USA, California, Yorkville Highlands

This continues to develop and open.  It is finally at a point where it can be opened without too much air.  This bottle was pop and pour and enjoyed over several hours.  A lovely cooler climate Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose has roasted meats, black raspberries and black olives. On the palate, this opens in the glass with a nice complexity.  Medium tannins.  Nice boysenberry fruit with undertones of roasted meats and earthiness.  Good finish.  Works with heartier and spicy foods quite well.  Nice finish.  Should be good to go for the next seven to ten years.  

2017 Diving Into Hampton Water Rose, France, Languedoc, Wine Review

A collaboration between Gérard Bertrand, and Jon and Jesse Bon Jovi.  HW Wine Company is essentially a company that commissioned this wine to be made in France to celebrate the good life.  Light salmon pink in color.  The nose is all about watermelon and strawberries.  It has a nice texture.  Nice acidity.  This wine is really all about summer fruit.  Not a lot of depth or complexity but tasty and easy drinking.  While it is probably made as a summer sipper it went well with a summery watermelon salad. Fun wine.  

2014 B Wise Vineyards Wisdom, USA, California, Sonoma, Moon Mountain, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with slight aquarium notes.  Also some cherries and black cherries.  On the palate, there is a lot of heat and it seems disjointed.  Tart cherries but brown sugar.  Alcohol on the finish.  Again, this appears to be a poorly stored bottled, but how to know for sure or where the issue is.  Drinkable for sure, but doesn't work with food at this point.  Hopefully, this bottle was not representative.  

2017 Château de Ségriès Tavel, France, Rhone, Wine Review

So glad to be able to review this as a bottle last week was not that good.  This one was much better and more what should be expected.  Bad bottles do happen.  Deep salmon pink in color, but not as deep as the prior bottle (heat damage?).  The nose has cherries and light rhubarb.  On the palate, this is clean, dry and no bitterness.  Persistent cherries on the palate.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  Worked well with food.  Nice bottle.  In retrospect, that first bottle was probably damaged in shipping at some point.  

2014 Carlisle Syrah Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

These are my go to wines for later in the night when you just want a bit more wine.  I buy a bunch every vintage and drink through them quickly, not that they won't last, but as they are really great values.  So, I was a bit surprised to see I still had a 2014 left.  Screw capped.  On opening, this was singing.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries. Also some black pepper and a bit of roasted herbs.  On the palate, this is lush but also deep.  Gulpable but at the same time it has some complexity.  Nice finish.  Drinks well on its own but would go well with heartier foods.  

2012 Epoch Estate Wines Authenticity Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

71% Syrah, 28% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier.  This is a gorgeous wine that is drinking great right now but still has some maturation to come.  Purple in color.  On of the cool things about Viognier is it make Syrah more opaque.  Another is that it has lifting aromatics which carry the Syrah and Mourvedre along with it.  In this case, just a gorgeous nose.  Black raspberries, roasted herbs, grilled meats, white pepper, musky earthiness all just explode from the glass.  On the palate, this has a lovely velvety texture.  Good balance.  Lots of black raspberry fruit with underlying earthiness.  It