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 Torrin Law Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Torrin is a winery we have been urging people to sign up for their mailing list for a while now.  And every year they keep ratcheting up the quality.  It was nice to go back six years to try this.  Probably not yet at maturity but past the baby stages and getting close.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, char and slight roasted meats.  On the palate, this is big but concentrated and not exuberant.  Black raspberry fruit with underlying char.  It took some time to open but revealed and deep and complex wine.  Nice finish.  This needs big or spicy food but a

2010 Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne St. Joseph, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has a lot of funk/barnyard.  Some blows off with air but not all.  There is also some boysenberry fruit, leather and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this is drinking well.  Probably at or close to maturity.  Boysenberry layered with damp earth.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This needs heartier foods to work with.  No hurry but probably should be drunk in the next five to seven years.  

2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

What an amazing wine.  One of the GREAT wines of the 21st century so far.  Certainly in contention for the best!  Yes, that is how good it is.  Still youthful, it is starting to round into maturity but not quite.  Purple in color.  The nose is intoxicating.  One of those wines you could sniff all night without even sipping.  Black raspberries, decayed meats (in a good way), roasted meats, slight bacon fact, white pepper and violets.  On the palate, this is seamless.  Juicy black raspberries, layers of fruit, charred earth, leather.  Some spice.  Lots of energy and almost weightless yet powe

2007 Saxum Broken Stones, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is intense with black raspberries, charred meat and black pepper.  On the palate, this is tight and concentrated.  Pin point black raspberries with underlying char.  It opens a bit in the glass.  Very deep, with air it unwinds in the glass.  Not opulent but by no means shy either.  Good finish.  Needs big or spicy foods but great on its own.  Lots of alcohol but not noticeable in the wine.  

 

 

2007 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

2007 was the best vintage for Saxum up to now.  And, that is saying a lot.  This was just stunning.  It is in a great place right now, but, depending on the bottle, not quite at peak.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, black cherries, slight cedar and spice and bits of plums and peppers.  On the palate, this is lively yet weightless.  Almost seamless.  Delicious with energetic black raspberries, black cherries and underlying charred meats.  Long finish.  Great with heavier or spicy foods.  Each sip makes one want another.  

2010 Novy Family Wines Syrah Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Screw capped.  This retails for around $35.  It is really very good.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight black olives and a bit of black pepper.  On the palate, this has a nice sinewy texture.  Light tannins.  It is drinking quite well right now but no hurry.  Black raspberry fruit.  Good acidity.  Slight complexity.  Nice finish.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  Drink now thru 2023.  

2017 7 Moons Dark Side Red, USA, California, Wine Review

This is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Grenache.  It is a very drinkable wine that lists 13.5% Alc.  It retails for around $10 and this is a great value.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, cocoa and plums.  On the palate, this is slightly sweet.  Light tannins.  A nice varietal complexity.  Tart acidity. Long finish.  This probably should be drunk in the next few years.  Will work with a wide variety of foods.  Easy drinking and fun.  

2013 Horsepower Vineyards Syrah The Tribe Vineyard, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

This was quite good.  Not as big or expressive as expected.  In fact, it drinks very Northern Rhone-ish.   Purple in color.  On the nose there is black raspberries, slight bacon fat, slight violets and underlying minerality.  Nice texture.  Layers unwind in the glass.  Though still tight, there is a nice complexity with black raspberry fruit and crushed dusty rocks.  Nice acidity as well.  Should continue to improve for a while and be good for a couple of decades after that.  

2015 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lower East, USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Wine Review

Purple in color with ruby swirls.  This was tight but opened quickly to show black raspberries, slight roasted meats and a bit of pepper.  On the palate, this has a silky texture.  Black cherries.  Light tannins.  Nice finish.  This is probably as good as this gets but should be nice drinking for five years.  At $25 retail, this is fairly priced.  Will work with medium and heavier foods.  

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