Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Syrah Soiree Part Two: Tale Of Two Syrahs

Oh boy, I believe we may have created a monster... As you read in my last post, I was literally afraid of Syrah--too scary, too complicated, or as an old friend would have jokingly put it, "That don't make no never mind!" Let's just forget about it. Obviously that's the wrong answer! After my initiation into proper "Syrah Tasting", I decided to venture forth, palate first into the somewhat unknown... But now, I realize I've plunged into the deep end and there's no going back! And that, my friends, is a good thing... What better way to share great wines than with friends. I want to extend a special thanks to my friends Jen and Jeff who have supported me through all of this and are happy to be my friends because of my crazy wine habit! And to my friend Emily, who is a budding photographer and a great one at that! Thanks for photographing these bottles! OK, now on to the wines!

I recently received a couple samples from James David Cellars, a small producer based in the Sacramento area of California. With owner David Cole's help, I've learned to love Syrah even more than I did before. David and his immediate family are relatively new to winemaking, having purchased their first grapes in 2007. I believe the two Syrahs I sampled are the first of the wines they are offering. But, don't let that fool you. Winemaking has been in their family for awhile and the proof is evident when you try their wines. Please take the opportunity to visit their website and learn more about them. I predict big happenings in their future!

The first wine I sampled was the 2005 Central Coast Syrah. I know what you're thinking---2005--it's been in the bottle for awhile, yes? That would be a big NO. It was just bottled in May of 2009. This wine is young and has a long time to evolve and gain complexity. Color? Dark (but I'm getting over that now). Aroma is terrific. First taste, a little alcohol bite, a lot of chocolate/mocha and firm tannins. Let it sit in your glass for awhile and it starts to open up. You may even want to decant it for a half hour to an hour. It will open up and show its true colors: lots of ripe berries and chocolate. I really found it to be delicious and it paired nicely with my hangar steak. This is a wine I wouldn't mind trying again in a year, just to see how it comes along. Either way it's an enjoyable wine and I was seriously thinking it was a little more pricey than it is. Coming in at $21.00, the pricepoint had me stumped! Really! What a nice deal! Small production--only 350 cases made.

The second wine was the 2005 Mendocino Eagle Point Vineyard Syrah. This is a single vineyard Syrah and believe me, I've never had a Syrah this decadent and luscious--ever! The word "caramel" has never been a word I would associate with Syrah, yet here I am telling you it's all about the caramel. I guess it is setting a precedent! Wow, this wine was amazing and I could not stop "oohing and aahing" about it. In fact, I talked and tasted and almost completely forgot about dinner. Ended up taking most of my dinner home for the next day. I love food and eating at restaurants so when the wine is the spotlight, I know I've found something special! This Syrah is completely different than any other Syrah I'd ever had before. Medium bodied, lush and decadent with lots of berries, spice and-- caramel. There's nothing out there like this one! If there is, I'd like to know about it! And the price will blow you away, it's $24! My jaw dropped when I saw the price point for this wine. Wow! And at 125 cases, it won't be around long.

Seriously, folks! Talk about handcrafted, small family wines--these are not to be missed!
They can be found at! Their motto is, "Our Passion Is In The Bottle."

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