Syrah, a Rhône varietal, is a medium bodied to full-bodied dry red wine. For many years Syrah was ignored by consumers, it struggled to find it’s place at the table and stylistically many Syrah’s were pushed to the far side of the jam jar. Today winemakers embrace the inherent wild nature of the grape and coax it to its full natural expression of flavors from bright to savory, making wines of great structure and complexity with a balance of fruit, tannin, acidity and alcohol. Syrah is a many splendored thing, a poem of scents, flavors and textures; it’s a varietal worthy of your attention and ultimately your love.
Here are capsule reviews of Syrah you may find along the Wine Road. Note: These wines were tasted over several days and I recommend decanting Syrah for 30 minutes or more, to experience how the wine may change and develop.
The Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah is comprised of 98% Syrah 98%
and 2% Viognier, which is often added as a stabilizing factor for color
and tannin with Syrah. The color is a dark inky purple with a brick red
at the rim. On the nose, a bouquet of chalky dusty violets, sage, and a
touch of white pepper. Dry and balanced and full of red fruit flavors
such as raspberry, pomegranate and plum on the initial sips, followed by
rich dark fruits of blackberry, boysenberry and plum. Nice acidity with
notes of leather graphite, cigar box and licorice on finish. Further
tasting revealed softer tannins and a wonderful lingering note of mocha
This eye opening Syrah is bight and energetic, juicy and packed with
flavor. On the nose notes of black pepper, licorice, sage and eucalyptus
prevail. Intense and exiting it opens up to with fresh dark fruits of
blueberry and olallieberry, and delivers a long and lingering spicy
finish with notes of black olive and spicy pink peppercorns. Very
kinetic at first, with a griping crunchy minerality that settles nicely
into a balanced smooth grove of rich lip smacking flavor.
The Balletto BCD Vineyard Syrah has a captivating perfumed nose of
black pepper, anise and plum. On the palate, bright juicy acidity leads
to a steady savory wave of blackberry, tobacco and woody sweet briar.
Earthy and lyrical it has great integration of fruit, acidity and tannin
with layers of flavor and depth. The smooth velvety tannins carry out
to a long plush satisfying finish. Immensely enjoyable with all the
earmarks of complexity and cohesiveness that make for great wine
Dark and bold, the Cast Syrah has a deep violet color with notes of
spicy carnation and cocoa-mocha on the nose. Bold flavors and primary
notes of black olive and juniper berry come to front of the palate and
mingle with bright red fruits of pomegranate and raspberry that bring
great acidity to the mix. Brambly and bracing this Syrah is alive with
texture and typicity of the grape—a crisp crunch and snap of pink
peppercorns that harmonizes seamlessly with lush black fruit flavors of
plum and blueberry. The powdery tannins deliver a velvet glove finish.
Earthy, lithe and full of flavor, it’s deeply satisfying and
The Dutton Estate Syrah presents as dark ruby in the glass with a
bluish edge. The nose is a soft bouquet of floral and herbal notes
opening with violets, fennel, black pepper, dark plum, chaparral, and
sweet tobacco. An unmistakable Peppermint Patty note shines through on
both the nose and palate. It’s unquestionably dry, with layers and
layers of deep dark fruits, savory smoked meat and leather. Smooth and
opulent each sip presents a new facet such as cedar, licorice, mulberry,
menthol, and clove. The ample body is full of oomph and vitality with
soft powdery tannins on the long silky finish. Beautiful and
enchanting—it’s like liquid love.
The Frick Syrah from Owl Hill Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is a deep
garnet color with subtle aromas of mocha, dusty rose, and lavender. The
initial flavors are vibrant and bright with juicy black cherry,
boysenberry, and plum studded with cloves and licorice. Harmonious and
balanced with nice body and earthy, savory notes of bacon fat, sage,
green peppercorn and sassafras on the long elegant finish. A thought
provoking and engaging wine, perfect for a special date night.
The Limerick Lane Syrah is composed of 79% Syrah 13% Grenache 5%
Viognier and 3% Petite Sirah. Inky purple in the glass, this Syrah has a
bouquet of dark plum, black cherry, sweet tobacco and baking spice. The
overall structure is well balanced and lithe with high acidity and
flavors of black olive, bramble, cardamom, pencil shavings and a
wonderful note of petrichor. Long powdery tannins deliver a velvety
finish that thrums with savory, smoky notes of sage and chaparral.