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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Glenn Mackles » Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:09 pm

Earlier in the week we had a bottle of D'Arenberg Laughing Magpie 2014. Australian Shiraz with a touch of Viognier. A very nice bottle for around $20 or so. It is ready to drink now. Full of spice and fruit.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Jenise » Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:55 pm

2005 Edmunds St. John Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty El Dorado County
Another one I traipsed up to BC last week to show off the best of American. Took to a restaurant lunch so not decanted in advance.
A very classy and classic syrah, Rhonish but American, bright and more youthful than I expected (but everything I would have wished for), cherry/raspberry, garrique, a bit of leather, just a tad sweeter than expected from ESJ but not surprising considering the vintage, a wine in its prime with a lot of cellar opportunity ahead of it. No hesitation about moving the "drink latest" date out to 2030.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Jenise » Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:56 pm

Steve Kirsch wrote:2012 Chave Saint-Joseph
Starts off tasting quite young despite a double decant an hour or two earlier. After and hour or two the wine begins to display those mysterious and wonderful aromas that we all know and love about aged No. Rhone Syrah. With more time the experience becomes borderline mystical. I completely forget about Syrah every Spring and Summer and then reawaken to it when cooler weather arrives.


I'm envious! Time to open a Gonon.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Rahsaan » Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:27 am

Jenise wrote:2005 Edmunds St. John Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty El Dorado County
Another one I traipsed up to BC last week to show off the best of American. Took to a restaurant lunch so not decanted in advance.
A very classy and classic syrah, Rhonish but American, bright and more youthful than I expected (but everything I would have wished for), cherry/raspberry, garrique, a bit of leather, just a tad sweeter than expected from ESJ but not surprising considering the vintage, a wine in its prime with a lot of cellar opportunity ahead of it. No hesitation about moving the "drink latest" date out to 2030.


Sounds great. I finished my 2005 WFs but not surprising that they are still going strong and will likely continue to do so for many years.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by John LS » Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:46 am

David M. Bueker wrote:We're into the last quarter of the year, and time to get into some more advanced Wine Focusing. We're going to start blending. This month it's Syrah and its favorite blending partners - Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, etc.. Everything is up for grabs, from a classic Chateauneuf du Pape to a new world Syrah/Viognier blend made in the sprit of Cote Rotie, to even a Mourvedre/Carignan (Syrah is not mandatory!) that's representing the interest and opportunity of a winemaker looking to do something different.

The weather is getting cooler in the Northern Hemisphere, so make up a hearty stew or soup, and pop a robust bottle of red.
Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red? It is the only one I've ever heard of blending with red, but maybe there are others. And as rare as it is to blend a white into a red, I never really hear anyone talk about it.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Sat Oct 16, 2021 10:16 am

I’m really not sure, and it also depends on the scope of your question. In Cote Rotie it’s the only white allowed to be blended with the red so far as I know.

Go to California, and some folks are doing unusual blends into red wine. At his new venture Hardy Wallace has blended Chenin and Semillon into a Mourvèdre-based wine.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Robin Garr » Sat Oct 16, 2021 10:43 am

John LS wrote:Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red? It is the only one I've ever heard of blending with red, but maybe there are others. And as rare as it is to blend a white into a red, I never really hear anyone talk about it.

John, welcome to the forum! I would agree with David that blending a small amount of white into a red wine is not common, but not unheard of. The one that comes right to my mind is Chianti, which for centuries routinely blended a little Trebbiano or Malvasia into the Sangiovese-dominant red mix. That went away with new regulations in 2006, which also allowed them to mix in a little French red - Cabernet Sauvignon or Cab Franc or Merlot. When it was done, though, I think it was the same hypothesis as the Viognier addition in the Northern Rhone - it supposedly heightens the aromatics. Another one: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which includes a couple of whites among the thirteen permitted (but not always used) varieties.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Jenise » Sat Oct 16, 2021 10:52 am

John LS wrote:Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red? It is the only one I've ever heard of blending with red, but maybe there are others. And as rare as it is to blend a white into a red, I never really hear anyone talk about it.


It's called co-fermenting and very much practiced in the Northern Rhone but also very usual here in Washington state where I live and where this country's best syrahs are being produced. Usually just a tiny amount, 3-4% is the most common and in British Columbia last week I heard amounts as low as 1%. But here in Washington, a winery called Reynvaan makes several syrahs--in addition to the usual viognier in several, one called The Contender uses marsanne in the co-ferment. It's the only exception to viognier that I know of, though.

John, welcome to WLDG!
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Rahsaan » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:24 pm

There's also pinot blanc/pinot gris and pinot noir. Not sure if any 'red' Burgundies have a bit of white grapes mixed in? But in Germany, Wasenhaus makes a Spätburgunder from a vineyard with pinot gris vines mixed in (Am Kreuz). Delicious fresh and bright.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Jenise » Sat Oct 16, 2021 6:15 pm

Two more from the past week:

1996 Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz E & E Black Pepper
The dill and pine resin notes of American oak jump at you from the getgo and don't let go. (Might have receded somewhat if decanted longer.) Sweet, caramelly fruit make it a surprisingly good match for tiramisu. Very very good showing for a 25 year old wine, but you better love your American oak.

2016 Thomas Gerrie Wines Syrah Les Collines Vineyard Walla Walla Valley

Took a chance, which one should never do, with buying a mystery wine from Garagiste wherein I committed to a whole case of a supposedly $50 syrah for around $17 ea. All I knew was the vintage (terrific) and vineyard (terrific). The bottles came home last week and I'm a happy girl: though this essentially has none of the characteristics I associate with northwest syrah, what it does have is a bright, deft medium-bodied delicacy not unlike tempranillo. A very good tempranillo in fact, highly likable if one changes one's expectations. Red cherry and berry fruit with a bit of orange rind and a minty nose supported by tame tannins and acidity. Equally good as either sipper or food wine. Bottom line: not what I think of when I reach for syrah, but I need and want wines like this in my cellar.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Peter May » Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:16 am

John LS wrote:Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red?


No.

Viognier is a special case because it was found that co-fermentation (i.e. fermenting black Syrah grapes together with a small percentage of white Viognier grapes) gave greater colour and flavour to the wine than making Syrah wine solely from Syrah grapes.

White grapes are allowed in various red wine appellations in Europe such as Chianti and the most famous use is in Champagne where most pink Champagne get its colour by blending in some red wine, the only approved usage in the EU of making pink wines by blending red and white wines
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Mon Oct 18, 2021 9:09 am

Peter May wrote:
John LS wrote:Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red?


No.

Viognier is a special case because it was found that co-fermentation (i.e. fermenting black Syrah grapes together with a small percentage of white Viognier grapes) gave greater colour and flavour to the wine than making Syrah wine solely from Syrah grapes.

White grapes are allowed in various red wine appellations in Europe such as Chianti and the most famous use is in Champagne where most pink Champagne get its colour by blending in some red wine, the only approved usage in the EU of making pink wines by blending red and white wines


Although Champagne is not really so much a "red wine appellation" unless you focus on the few still reds.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:39 pm

2018 Mullineux Kloof Street Swartland Rouge, SA.

Always a go-to Syrah blend, usually available most years and not a wine that needs too much cellaring.
40% Tinta Barocca, 44% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 4%Cinsault. Purchased 2 yrs ago, SC, 14.5% alc. $23 Cda.

Dark ruby with slight brick on rim. Inviting nose with dark black berries, spice, herbal, maybe some violets. Initial entry thought is drinks well now with nice judged acidity. Ripe black fruits here, fine tannins but could use a bit more length..an issue I have had with some other vintages. Thought quite an adventurous blend?
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:32 am

Not often we have a Tinta Barocca sighting.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:46 pm

  • 2014 Rhys Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (10/19/2021)
    One word of advice - decant. I didn’t, and it took a good two hours for the wine to open up and do more than scowl at me. When it finally decided to play ball, in the middle of the fifth inning of Braves-Dodgers, it first displayed a multi-faceted aromatic personality of black fruit, rare beef, low floral tones, olive, nutmeg and orange peel. Each sniff revealed a new aroma. The palate stayed more monolithic, but the depth was impressive, and with good alignment of fruit and tannin left no question about extended ageability.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Peter May » Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:25 am

David M. Bueker wrote:

Although Champagne is not really so much a "red wine appellation" unless you focus on the few still reds.


Champagne is not a red - or white appellation full stop :)

Champagne appellation is only for sparkling wines. Still wine made in the same region have the appellation Coteaux Champenois.

(interesting fact: the word Champagne on its own is sufficient - bottles don't need to also bear the words appellation controllee, as required for all other appellations.)
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Peter May » Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:36 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:
2018 Mullineux Kloof Street Swartland Rouge, SA.


I bought two in the summer, and one was snaffled by my son who said it was very good. I'm grimly hanging on to the other. Perhaps its time, tho', to open it?
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 20, 2021 6:56 pm

Peter May wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:

Although Champagne is not really so much a "red wine appellation" unless you focus on the few still reds.


Champagne is not a red - or white appellation full stop :)

Champagne appellation is only for sparkling wines. Still wine made in the same region have the appellation Coteaux Champenois.

(interesting fact: the word Champagne on its own is sufficient - bottles don't need to also bear the words appellation controllee, as required for all other appellations.)


Turns out someone is geekier than me. ;)
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 20, 2021 7:48 pm

p.s. Coteaux Champenois is the classic distinction without a difference.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:35 pm

  • 2019 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lucien - USA, California (10/21/2021)
    I had forgotten that this was mostly Bedrock Vineyard Mourvèdre, and at first thought it was primarily Evangelho, as it showed that sappy depth that I love so much from the sands of Contra Costa. Plummy and rich on the front end, the acidity punctuates the finish, with a scrub of tannin at the end. It’s very drinkable right now for those who tolerate obvious structure, with ample fruit to lay down for a few years to see what happens to a Bedrock Vineyard Mourvèdre.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by John LS » Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:00 pm

Jenise wrote:
John LS wrote:Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red? It is the only one I've ever heard of blending with red, but maybe there are others. And as rare as it is to blend a white into a red, I never really hear anyone talk about it.


It's called co-fermenting and very much practiced in the Northern Rhone but also very usual here in Washington state where I live and where this country's best syrahs are being produced. Usually just a tiny amount, 3-4% is the most common and in British Columbia last week I heard amounts as low as 1%. But here in Washington, a winery called Reynvaan makes several syrahs--in addition to the usual viognier in several, one called The Contender uses marsanne in the co-ferment. It's the only exception to viognier that I know of, though.

John, welcome to WLDG!

Wow, great insights into Washington wines. Marsanne blended into a Rhone style wine in Washington. That is pretty cool, I had no idea that was a thing.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by John LS » Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:03 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
John LS wrote:Is viognier the only white wine that is blended with red? It is the only one I've ever heard of blending with red, but maybe there are others. And as rare as it is to blend a white into a red, I never really hear anyone talk about it.

John, welcome to the forum! I would agree with David that blending a small amount of white into a red wine is not common, but not unheard of. The one that comes right to my mind is Chianti, which for centuries routinely blended a little Trebbiano or Malvasia into the Sangiovese-dominant red mix. That went away with new regulations in 2006, which also allowed them to mix in a little French red - Cabernet Sauvignon or Cab Franc or Merlot. When it was done, though, I think it was the same hypothesis as the Viognier addition in the Northern Rhone - it supposedly heightens the aromatics. Another one: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which includes a couple of whites among the thirteen permitted (but not always used) varieties.

Now that you mention it, I think in the distant past I read about Chianti having a bunch of stuff blended into it including some white grapes. I had completely forgotten about that. So now there are regulations where they aren't allowed to do that in Chianti? Why?
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:42 pm

Pretty sure they can still use the traditional white grapes, they just are no longer required to do so. IIRC the changes were largely in response to the Super Tuscan wines.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Wine 401 - Syrah & its blending frie

by Robin Garr » Sat Oct 23, 2021 10:50 am

I really like this affordable, certified organic Côtes du Rhône from the Perrins.

Famille Perrin 2019 "Nature" Côtes du Rhône ($12.99)

Perrin "Nature" Côtes du Rhône is made with grapes certified organic by Ecocert, as the name "Nature" implies; it's a field blend of Grenache and Syrah in undisclosed proportions. It's very dark reddish-purple with a garnet edge. Grenache shows itself in a delicious raspberry aroma with subtle black and white pepper shyly hiding in the background. Juicy and ripe on the palate, its flavor blends red berries and dark cherries in a good but not overbearing acidic structure with light tannins; peppery-spicy notes become more present in a long finish. It's partly finished in oak barrels and part in steel vats; the label reports 14.5% alcohol, but it's well integrated and doesn't get in the way. U.S. importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, Ala. (Oct. 21, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: The winery website recommends lamb, and this makes sense. This sturdy, well-balanced but fruity red should go well with any red meat. It was delicious, too, with the rich cheese and abundant pepper in our meal of cacio è pepe reimagined as a risotto.

WHEN TO DRINK: Although simple Côtes du Rhônes aren't billed as long agers, this one's balance and quality persuades me that it wouldn't suffer, and might gain, from six to eight years in a good cellar.

VALUE:
It's a remarkable value at Wine-Searcher.com's $14 average U.S. retail, and I'm delighted to pick it up for a dollar less..

WEB LINK:
The back label QR code takes you directly to this informative page on Famille Parrin's English-language website.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Perrin "Nature" Côtes du Rhône on Wine-Searcher.com.

Learn more about the Côtes du Rhône and browse dozens of vendor offerings for the region at this Wine-Searcher link.
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