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.

2004 Pax Syrah Walker Vine Hill, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

From a different time, back when Pax Mahle was making really big wines in really big bottles.  The label lists 15.5% ABV.  For those who questioned how well a wine like this could age, at 17, this is doing just fine with years left.  Purple in color with ruby around the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, slight black raspberries, spice, slight root beer note and a wisp of smoke.  Full bodied.  On the palate, black cherries, blueberries, spice and slight earthiness.  Long finish.  No sign of alcohol in the wine.  This is fresh and vibrant.  It seems like it could

2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$400.00USD

This is a really special vintage from a special winery.  In fact, this is arguably the best wine that Saxum has ever made.  A real treat to be able to try it again at age 14.  Purple in color with ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight black cherries, black olives, roasted meat and slight smoke.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has that lovely lightness of being while still packing a wallop.  Black raspberries, char, some black olives and slight roasted meats.  Great acidity and balance.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This seems to be at matur

2008 Sine Qua Non Syrah B 20, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$400.00USD

This is a blend of 92% Syrah, 6% Grenache, and 2% Viognier.  It has really been helped by some cellar time (although it has always been great).  Inky purple in color, slight ruby rim, but showing some slight age in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, char, slight bacon fat, black olives and roasted meats.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has a voluptuous texture.  Black raspberry fruit.  Good balance.  Light tannins.  Some anise on the finish.  This seems to be at peak.  It is still a big wine but less raucous than in its youth.  No hurry as it can do another ten years.  It

2014 Torrin Akasha, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Torrin continues to make some of the best, fruit forward, Rhone varietals anywhere.  These are big wines that benefit from extended cellaring.  This one is 100% Syrah.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is intense with black raspberries, black pepper, slight iodine, roasted meats and herbs and spice.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  Great lush texture.  On the palate, concentrated black raspberry fruit, some blueberries, black pepper with underlying meatiness and char.  Nice acidity.  Lots of energy.  Long finish.  This will still get better over the next five years and drin

2013 Penfolds Shiraz Magill Estate, Australia, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

This is 100% Shiraz from Adelaide in Australia.  It is a single vineyard wine and it is stunning.  There was a time this was an affordable bottle and less expensive alternative to Grange, but both have seen steep escalation of their pricing.  Still, once in a while, this is doable.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, chocolate, black olives, leather and nutmeg.  Full bodied.  Great vibrant texture.  Nice acidity.  On the palate, this is complex and also delicious.  Black raspberry fruit with layers of fruit, earth and char.  Long finish.  Thi

2019 Carlisle Syrah Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

Consistently one of the great values in California Syrah.  Deep purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, slight char, black pepper and roasted herbs.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black raspberry fruit with underlying meatiness and char.  Delicious.  Nice finish.  This will drink well over the next ten to twelve years.  A nice match with a burger or ribs off the grill.  

2017 K Vintners Syrah Powerline Vineyard, USA, Washington, Walla Walla, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, roasted herbs, slight burnt rubber, and a bit of cherries.  Full bodied.  Rich texture.  Lots of vibrancy.  On the palate, good fruit but not as boisterous as some vintages.  Black raspberries, black cherries, with underlying char and roasted meats.  Nice finish.  This is obviously young but drinking well.  It should mature for another five to ten years and drink well for eight to twelve after that.  It drinks great on its own and will work for big flavored foods.  Roasted chicken would work well.  

2011 Torrin James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is a blend of 52% Syrah and 48% Grenache from one of the great Rhone varietal vineyards of California (or anywhere).  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black cherries, smoke, roasted herbs, and a bit of meatiness.  Full bodied.  Complex and seemingly at peak.  Layers of black raspberry and black cherry fruit with underlying char and slight earthiness.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This wine should continue to drink well for another ten to twelve years.  A nice match for Indian or Thal food.  

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