Syrah tagged posts

A Killer Single Vineyard Sonoma Syrah for $17

September 27, 2016 High End Values  No comments

baldassari_syrah_nolanThere are less great wine deals than there were 4-5 years ago.  That fact, combined with my increasingly picky taste in wine, means that when you see a post about a great deal on this blog, you can rest assured the wine is noteworthy.  That said, there are great wines available at every price point and there should be no need for qualifiers like"it's good for the price".  Here is a great example:

Fans of cool-climate Syrah are going to want to check out this excellent single vineyard from Sonoma's Bennet Valley.  This cool climate growing region is a sweet spot for Syrah and Baldassari has nailed it with their 2013 from Nolan Vineyard.

This shows like a slightly riper St. Joseph with a deep purple color, beautiful black pepper on the nose and notes of smoked meat with a nice mix of

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90 Point Rhone under $12 – Chateau Bizard Grignan les Adhemar Montagne de Raucoule (WA90, $11.95)

September 25, 2014 Under $12 Deals  No comments

Chateau Bizard 2011

From the Southern Rhone appellation of Grignan-les Adhemar (new to me), comes this killer Syrah-based blend from Chateau Bizard.  As the years go by, my daily drinker wines have experienced some "price creep".  Besides spending more, the other problem with this phenomenon is I'm getting quite a bit more picky about what I consider a quality wine.  The grading curve has simply been raised.

That said, this is a rock solid Syrah.  It blends southern Rhone and fruit exuberance with northern Rhone cut and focus (it's from the north part of southern Rhone).  You might say it's the best of both (old) worlds. Furthermore, finding a domestic wine, Syrah or otherwise, that even approaches this quality is completely impossible.
Buy Here: 2011 Chateau Bizard Grignan

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More Proof Syrah Rules: Novy Santa Lucia Highlands 2009

March 4, 2012 Cellar WorthyDaily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

If you aren't drinking California and Washington Syrah yet, you're missing out on perhaps the best value in domestic red wine.  The French made it popular hundreds of years ago and the Aussies more recently, but for some reason it just hasn't blown up here... yet.  There are some indications that it's heading that way, so savvy consumers better hurry and stock up before it goes the way of the Pinot.

The Central Coast is a hot spot, or rather cool spot for California Syrah, producing polished, mineral influenced wines with plenty of backbone.  Novy Family Wines produces a number of single vineyard designated wines, but Antonio Galloni of The Wine Advocate describes their Santa Lucia Highlands bottling as "equal of most, if not all, the vineyard designates", but at a lower price.  He

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Amapola Creek Syrah 2007 – Dick Arrowood’s personal masterpiece.

May 16, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

I predict that 10 years from now, Syrah will be right up there with Cabernet Sauvignon in terms of popularity in the United States.  Wine writers have been touting U.S. Syrah for a while, but I think they were a little premature with their predictions.  It takes time for growers to figure out the best locations, rootstock, vine trellising and production methods.  I believe that the U.S. has now figured out the grape that the French and Aussies made so popular before us.  American Syrah has arrived.

Richard "Dick" Arrowood started his career in wine in the '60s and by the '70s became winemaker at Sonoma icon Chateau Ste. Jean.  There, he created arguably Sonoma County's most famous red wine, Cinq Cepages.  Arrowood went on to found his namesake winery, which he sold in the 90s when the

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Delille Cellars Doyenne Syrah ’06 – Serious juice for $35

May 3, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Doyenne, sister label of Delille, is one to watch.  They are producing some absolutely top-notch Rhone blends from the state of Washington: AIX, a blend of Cabernet and Syrah, and Metier, a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah, and this 98% Syrah blended with 2% Viognier.  All of these wines are notably good and honestly, I don't know which to say I like best.

The 2006 Syrah, rated 93 points by Tanzer and Parker, is anchored by blueberry, smoke and vanilla on the nose with the blueberry continuing on the palate complimented by dense black cherry.  Much like ripe black cherries, it has a mouth coating sweetness kept in check with a bright acidity.  The texture creates a length on the finish that begs you to take another sip.  This is a wine I can get truly excited about.


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Rhone Rises in Washington with Doyenne Cellars

April 7, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

If you're not on board the U.S. Rhone Ranger train, start running, because it's leaving the station!  By "leaving the station", I mean that the prices are about to go up as this moves from the fringe to the mainstream.  Delille's sister label, Doyenne, is reserved exclusively for Rhone varietals and every one of their reds that I've tasted is absolutely awesome.  Below are my impressions of the Doyenne wines I've tasted so far.  These wines can be shipped across the country and the prices are way low.  Look for more as I try the rest of their lineup.

Doyenne Aix Proprietary Red 2007 - $23.95 (ST92, WA92, WS90)
The wine that got me hooked on Doyenne is called AIX, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Mourvedre.  I thought AIX was a spectacular value when I wrote it up at

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A $7 Daily Drinking Fiasco from Tobin James

March 10, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  One comment

Tobin James is known for their Zinfandel, Syrah and their "country party" themed tasting room in the heart of the Central Coast's Paso Robles wine region.  If you're ever in the area, it's worth checking out their tasting saloon and picking up one of their signature star patches for the memory book.  Their wines are well reviewed, popular and range in price from $12 to $150.

Producers like Tobin James are often contracted to make wines for "private label" applications at grocery stores or restaurants.  Rumor has it, Tobin James created the Titan Hills label for one of those private label projects, but somehow the deal fell through, so we the consumer are left with an incredible value they call "Fiasco".  Maybe the name hints at how this wine made it to the market?

This weekend, I

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Single Vineyard Rhone Ranger Grey Stack “The Folly” $19.95

February 28, 2011 Daily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

If you aren't on the lookout for Rhone Ranger blends from California, you are missing out on an up-and-coming segment that is providing some great values.  The same grapes that made Sine Que Non an impossible to find cult wine, have remained under the radar for some reason.  Grenache and Syrah blends, and to a certain extent Mourvedre, blend to create interesting, elegant and fun to drink wines.

Paso Robles and Santa Barbara county are producing some of the best, but Grey Stack's Greywacke Vineyard "The Folly" is from Russian River Valley, of all places.  This Syrah and Grenache blend is an absolute stand out value at $20 and a must try for anyone looking for a departure from the norm of California Cabernet.  I like Syrah, but believe that when blended with Grenache, it really "kicks

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2007 Delille Cellars Doyenne Aix Proprietary Red- RP92 $26.95

January 10, 2011 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

Have you discovered Washington wine yet?  If not, you are missing out on the United States' second largest and, arguably highest value wine region.  Cabernet seems to be firmly planted as the premier grape but Syrah is not far behind in terms of quality, if not popularity.  Doyenne, the Rhone blend label of Delille Cellars, has created a wine that's the best of both worlds, blending 35% Cabernet with 61% Syrah and a splash of Mourvèdre.

Vineyards rule in Washington as winegrowers have chosen to focus on building the reputation of the places the grapes are grown almost more than the brand of the wine.  Over half of the grapes in Doyenne's Aix Proprietary Red come from the famed Ciel du Cheval vineyard in Washington's Red Mountain AVA.  That pedigree certainly comes through as this wine

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The best Rhone under $15 is only $11 WS88

October 18, 2010 Daily Drinkers  No comments

Robert Parker called the 2007 vintage in Southern Rhone "the greatest vintage I have tasted in my 30 years working in that region... Moreover, the vintage is remarkably consistent from top to bottom".  That quality and consistency might be perfectly expressed in the 2007 Font du Vent Cotes du Rhone-Villages Notre Passion Signor, which is the best Rhone value I've tasted all year.  This wine would probably be good in an average vintage, but in an historic vintage like 2007, it's incredible.  This $11 Cotes-du-Rhone Villages tastes like a pretty good Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  That's really saying something.

Everything about this wine is well put together, fresh and elegant.  Like most wines of this style, it's not influenced by a lot of oak, though half of it does see some time in barrels. 

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