Tasting notes, with pics, x-posted from the official SB thread. Please keep in mind that I am not a wine expert by any means, and when it comes to Syrahs in particular, I am quite inexperienced.
Once the bottle seemed adequately cooled (beyond the original 80 something degrees), I opened her up. The cook was stained, as shown below, and I suppose it isn't surprising considering the high 90s here in nyc and the heatwave across the country. The wine also sat for about 4 hours in my apt which is in the low 90s. Still, despite the stained cork, the wine does not seem spoiled or adversely affected, thankfully!
Sniffed from the cork and the mouth of the bottle, it smelled rich, smooth, and deeply fruity - like dark, ripe, almost dried cherries and plums. More like a Zin, actually, to my nose, or even maybe a Petite Sirah.
I poured a bit in a glass, and sniffed again. Immediately, it seemed brighter, tarter, with a pronounced alcoholic tang, and a little oaky.
The wine is a lovely deep plum colour, very rich and thick. As norvegicus noted (he called it 'legs', a term new to me), the wine clings in streams to the sides of the glass for minutes - quite amazing! Tasted, it has a heavily tannic and alcoholic bite to it immediately. It's less like overripe fruit, more like younger fruit, if that makes any sense. No longer black cherries and dried plums, but now it's like tart raspberries, with a distinct peppery finish, and still quite oaky. In my mouth, it didn't feel as thick as it looks, but certainly not thin either; I found it light to medium bodied.
1.5 hours later, I retested. It had aired fully the entire time, and been recooled a bit as necessary. In this time, it changed dramatically - wow. I am quite shocked in fact, as I don't think I've ever experienced a wine that morphs so much in such a short period of time. It still has quite a bite to it at first, a bit less tannic, a bit more acidic - I guess these features would soften with aging, and I will certainly age my purchased bottle. While it still has that raspberry note, it's even tarter, like berries that aren't quite ripe. It's also MUCH more herbal and even floral, notes which I couldn't pick up at all pre-airing. In fact, the herbal notes almost dominate to me after time - thyme and lavender type notes, I'd say, and then a semi-floral, semi-herbal note that reminds me of geranium.
In summary, my own tastes, which run to dark, smooth fruit as opposed to more astringent herbal notes, suggest to me three things:
1. I will most enjoy this drunk right away, without decanting (as it doesn't really lose any bite at all from decanting, that I can tell).
2. It will benefit from aging, becoming smoother (I hope/presume).
3. Were I to drink it slowly, or after decanting, I'd be able to better appreciate the herbal stage with the right meal; I can see this going well with braised/stewed rabbit or venison, or pasta with a spicy sausage and heavily herbed sauce.
I will finish this bottle tomorrow, and it's certainly a drinkable wine and I appreciate it for its many nuances, which are fascinating from an experiential viewpoint, but in terms of pure delicious enjoyment, I'm a bit disappointed. I hope the Zin pleases me more and that by aging my Syrah, it will improve.
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"I like my Sirah like I like my women: young, Petite and inky." - Thralow