Monday, December 12, 2011

Quartet of Syrah Delivers Taste and Value Under $20

Chantom Vineyards Syrah
Syrah is a red wine that is flying under the radar and delivering sensational taste and value. We had the opportunity to taste four Syrahs at a recent tasting at Aficionado Wine & Cigars in Perrysburg. The emphasis was on bottles from California.

2007 Robert Hall Rhone de Robles – This Central Coast Rhone style blend marries Syrah, Grenache and Cinsaut grapes. It has a light body with nicely structured tannins. Wafting aroma of blueberry with cherry and cranberry flavors prevail. A nice start to our evening. Retails for about $18.

2007 Lost Canyon Russian River Syrah, Trenton Station Vineyard – This Syrah is high on the QPR (quality price ratio) scale, being marked down from $38 to $16. This displayed less tannins than the Robert Hall and had a more earthy yet refined flavor. This was less fruit driven than the Hall as well. It’s an unfiltered wine with some sediment.

2006 Chatom Vineyards Syrah – The champ of the evening. This wine is from Calaveras County, the first I’ve had from this emerging AVA in the Sierra Foothills. The color is jewel-like and the flavor is intense yet balanced. There is a dash of white pepper flavor over the black cherry flavors. This is a complex, enjoyable wine that only will set you back $19.99. It is a limited production wine of only 800 cases.

2009 Can Blau Cellar Can Blau – Another California Syrah had been slated to bat clean-up, but this wine from Spain was substituted when the other was determined to be “off.” The Can Blau is a Rhone style blend with 40% Mazuelo, 40% Syrah and 20% Garnacha. Mazuelo and Garnacha are the Spanish names for Carignan and Grenache. This is an enjoyable wine, but was very light with a diffused, somewhat watery flavor. This might be a nice casual sipping wine, but is not a good choice for an earthy, robust Syrah. Costs about $17.

This is a nice group of wines with the Chatom Vineyards being our favorite. For those who like bolder wines, consider Syrah from Washington State and bypassing the blends.
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