Friday, February 17, 2012

Jaffurs 2009 Santa Barbara County Syrah

This is a wine that almost wasn’t. But the experience provides a cautionary tale.
Green Dragon and I decided to celebrate Valentines Day on the Saturday before with a nice dinner at Mancy’s Blue Water Grille, one of the top restaurants in the Toledo area. Having had salmon earlier in the week I opted for their filet mignon and my valentine chose a beef medallion Oscar. Of course Mancy’s has a reputation for exquisitely prepared steak.
As we enjoyed the vibe of the restaurant I scanned the wine options. Mancy’s has a contemporary layout to their wine list. Organized by categories such as “fresh and crisp” whites and “full bodied” for reds as opposed to listing by countries or varietals.
My eyes were caught by the ‘09 Jaffurs Syrah. We recently returned from a wine trip to Santa Barbara County. Jaffurs was one winery on our list that we missed. Here was a chance to sample the goods!
I placed the order and our waitress soon returned with a bottle. She presented it to me and I looked at the label. Often this is an automatic step – but this time I noticed that it was the 2010 vintage.
Beep. Beep. This does not compute. A 2010 Syrah is too young – aside from not being what I ordered. We sent it back and were reluctantly thinking about a different wine if they were out of the 2009.
Cupid’s arrow was flying true that night because our waitress returned with the Jaffurs 2009. Perhaps the 2010 would have tasted comparable – but I can’t imagine how.
The 2009 Jaffurs was succulent and layered. The tannins were integrated very well – present to interplay nicely with our entrees, but retreating to allow a rich, berry-drop finish. The berry and spice flavor notes seemed especially spectacular as we swirled the last drops in our glasses. The wine, the food and the company made quite a memory.
The punch line is to always check your label for the vintage and appellation. If you receive a wine with only a California appellation instead of a single vineyard designation, for example, you could be paying for a first class wine and receiving a mundane wine instead.
The second thing to look for is wine by Jaffurs. Their 2009 Syrah is simply outstanding!
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