How fortuitous that this is up on wine.woot today. A colleague and I recently shared this wine over dinner. My colleague(~D~) is relatively new to wine, and I’m a Rhone Ranger at heart. Let me pull together our consolidated tasting notes.
I had the bottle sitting open for about 30 minutes before we poured. We wrote tasting notes for “straight out of the bottle”, “one pass thru a vinturi”, and “with dinner”.
Straight out of the bottle: This wine is a dark, blue-purple color . There is sediment in the bottle – so be aware that it is unfined. On the nose, I was finding blackberry, earthy-mushroom, and a spice combination (black pepper, clove, hint of nutmeg). ~D~ was finding the same dark berry notes, a hint of smoke, black pepper, and a hard-to-define “deep bold” aroma. On the palate, we both were noting dark fruit. I noted some sour cherry – which we think translated to “tangy” in ~D~’s notes (she profusely apologizes for the lack of better descriptors – but I think she’s doing great for a newbie). The finish is “medium” for lack of better terms from both of us. Not overly long, but certainly more than “short”. I noticed that the wine tends to concentrate at the front of the mouth. It’s * not* hollow on the palate, but it’s very much activating the front of the tongue. Moreso than I would have expected.
Pass thru Vinturi: Passing through the vinturi did not make a positive difference. It actually hurt this wine. The berry flavors shifted from dark fruit to brighter red fruit – red raspberry primarily. The black pepper stood out more, and we both lost the earthy/smoky and the spice/clove/nutmeg notes. The finish shortened noticeably and the taste profile moved even more to the front of the tongue (bordering on hollow palate for me). ~D~ was visibly not thrilled with how the aeration suppressed the flavors. Truthfully, neither was I.
With food: This is when the wine really started to shine. We had agreed on BBQ takeout from Smokey Bones for dinner – since syrah tends to go really well with grilled and meaty dishes. We had pulled pork, BBQ chicken, fire roasted corn, and cole slaw. This wine worked *very well* with our dinner. It had enough backbone to stand up to the BBQ sauce. Truly wonderful with the chicken and the corn. And it had enough oomph to handle the “sandwich” (pulled pork, sauce, and cole slaw on top of grilled garlic toast). I’ve got to hand it to a wine that can shine through *that* food profile!
Based on our experience with the Vinturi, I think this wine is at peak. I would not hold it for the long run. Personally, I would consume it between now and Christmas (and it would probably work well with your Christmas roast).