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JC (NC)

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WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz?

by JC (NC) » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:04 pm

Or, in a Delicate equation, which wine is Peaking?

I selected two grocery store syrahs (labeled shiraz) to compare at different price points--a $3.99 (marked down from $5.99) Delicato California Shiraz and a $13.99 Geyser Peak Shiraz, Sonoma County.

Both listed at 13.5% alcohol

2004 DELICATO CALIFORNIA SHIRAZ
Opaque dark purple juice. Fragrance of dark berries foretells the dark berry flavors. Drying finish. Suggesion of herbs--maybe tarragon or rosemary. Not complex but tastes better than a $3.99 wine should be expected to taste (especially for a domestic wine).
Back label says the Delicato Shiraz was awarded "Best Shiraz of California at the California State Fair three consecutive years." (It wasn't THAT good!) Is it an appellation thing (not in competition with Napa or Sonoma Syrah, only statewide California designation?)

2002 GEYSER PEAK WINERY SHIRAZ, SONOMA COUNTY
Dark purple color. More fragrant than the Delicato. Ripe black fruit nose suggesting sweet jam or pie. Less sweet on the palate than the nose seems to indicate. More depth than the Delicato giving a rounded impression with soft tannins. Presents more as Australian style than Rhone--perhaps thanks to Australian winemakers at the winery. Still, it is more obvious in a blind tasting that this is syrah/shiraz, while the Delicato might be mistaken for some other varietal.

The Delicato was good QPR and rose above its price level. The Geyser Peak is an impressive wine in its niche or style and also rises above its price level for those who favor the ripe, jammy wines. Think of the Delicato as a possible barbeque or picnic wine and the Geyser Peak as a crowd pleaser or party wine. And yes, a $10 difference in price did make a difference in quality (but I might be tempted to spend even more for a Red Mountain Syrah from Washington State if the grocery store carried them).
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:34 pm

Very good post there JC and a very good comparitive tasting. I think there might be a Shiraz/Syrah thread on an Open Mike next month as Bob Ross and myself arekeen to do something like this.
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz?

by ClarkDGigHbr » Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:19 am

JC (NC) wrote:I selected two grocery store syrahs (labeled shiraz) to compare at different price points--a $3.99 (marked down from $5.99) Delicato California Shiraz and a $13.99 Geyser Peak Shiraz, Sonoma County.

Think of the Delicato as a possible barbeque or picnic wine and the Geyser Peak as a crowd pleaser or party wine. And yes, a $10 difference in price did make a difference in quality (but I might be tempted to spend even more for a Red Mountain Syrah from Washington State if the grocery store carried them).


Excellent notes, JC. I've never tasted either of these particular wines, and now I know what to expect should I encounter them.

I am very sorry to hear that you have a local supply problem for some of our fine Washington Syrah's. These days, you can get wonderful Syrah from vineyards in all the major WA growing areas, not just the Red Mountain, our smallest AVA. In fact, the nicest ones I've tasted recently came from Lewis Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, and the Seven Hills and Les Collines Vineyards in Walla Walla. Sure, you are going to pay more than $13.99/bottle, but it sure will be worth it.

-- Clark
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz?

by DebA » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:11 am

Really good TN's, JC. You articulated critical flavor points and QPR info clearly which made me to want to seek out the Geyser Peak Shiraz! Thanks :)
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz?

by Jenise » Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:29 am

JC, about five years ago Bruce L. reported on the Delicato--he was amazed at the quality. I was so impressed that I bought a bottle too, and was similarly impressed. It was real syrah and not at all gooped up, in fact probably more deserving of the name 'syrah' than 'shiraz' stylistically. Every time I've seen it since I've wondered if they kept up the quality level, and I guess you've answered the question: kind of. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:50 pm

DebA wrote:Really good TN's, JC. You articulated critical flavor points and QPR info clearly which made me to want to seek out the Geyser Peak Shiraz! Thanks :)


I think another Syrah to look out for is the Red Bicyclette (Gallo), a Vins de Pays d`Oc. $18.00Cdn. I know there will be hoots of derision but it`s not bad!!
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by Doug Surplus » Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:19 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:
I think another Syrah to look out for is the Red Bicyclette (Gallo), a Vins de Pays d`Oc. $18.00Cdn. I know there will be hoots of derision but it`s not bad!!


I've had the Red Bicyclette and am unimpressed.
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:29 pm

Probably 100 degrees out there, try when minus 20....LOL.
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by Doug Surplus » Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:49 pm

I had it in San Diego and it was only 68 degrees.
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by JC (NC) » Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:04 pm

Glad to see all the responses. To Clark in Gig Harbor, I'm thinking of ordering some Washington State Syrahs from the wineries but the smaller producers may have already allocated their current vintage. Saviah and Willow Crest were two of the smaller wineries that impressed me (Willow Crest with not just the Syrah but also other varietals). I have a Waterbrook to try (I don't remember if that one was a Syrah or a Cabernet Sauvignon). When I checked at the grocery store (pretty upscale), I think the only Syrah they had from Washington was from Columbia Crest.
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by Jenise » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:58 pm

JC, you might do better working with a wine shop than with the wineries direct--as you say, they sell out. When I've looked for something that's sold out, I often have luck finding it at Pete's Market. I don't have a phone # handy but googling them will reap rewards--they have the best wine selection in the state, and they ship.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Experiment: Does $10 make a difference in low-end California Shiraz

by JC (NC) » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:24 pm

Thanks for the advice Jenise. I also heard from a wine shop in the Seattle area and have a contact in Prosser that might be able to arrange a shipment for me.

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