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Zachary Ross

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Zachary Ross » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:15 pm

Ok, I'll jump in. These are from the past month or so:

2010 Charles Helfenbein Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes La Syrah.
Hey, it's Northern Rhone Syrah! And it's cheap!! This is a very nice drink-youngish wine with some of the hallmark attributes one seeks from this area: carnal meatiness, exotic floral aspects, and anise-infused Syrah fruit, rather like a good Saint-Joseph -- and this is no lightweight, as there is serious flavor intensity and very fine, silky tannins, kept fresh and airy by plentiful acidity. All that for $15. Yeah, it's ripe - bu t firms up with air, becoming more serious and interesting. Like Eric Texier, Helfenbein is based in Brézème, and this strikes me as good or better than any of Texier's basic Cotes-du-Rhones (excepting his CdR Brézème and Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban) - though maybe it's just the brilliant 2010 vintage speaking. Cheap, plastic cork. Drink this while you wait for your Gonons et al. to still not be ready yet.

2010 Charles Helfenbein Côtes du Rhône-Brézème
Excellent wine. This is darker, more backward, stern, and sinewy than Helfenbein's "La Syrah," with a fair amount of burnt-rubber reduction (?) that needs to blow off. When it does this shows real Northern Rhone terroir of leather and smoke, though it's still mostly in its shell with only reticent notes of blackish fruit and exotic spice poking through. Very well proportioned with lots of gras and firm tannins, in line with the vintage. This needs time but ought to reward patience; and at $20, all the more attractive.

2010 Benoit Roseau St. Joseph Cuvée Patagone
Good Saint-Joseph, with hallmark smoky, autumnal Northern-Rhone characteristics. It's medium bodied and not nearly as full (or immediately impressive) as other wines from the vintage that I have had, and there are plentiful, if very fine, tannins on the finish that dry out the fruit significantly. With air, though, more robust, anise-tinged dark red/purple fruit emerges, but still with the drying tannins. This is a good wine that, to me, is overpriced at $30. It may come around and be a very nice drink, but the top domaines outclass it and aren't so much more to afford.
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Gary Kahle

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Gary Kahle » Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:39 pm

2001 Massamier Tenement des Garouilhas

The entire name is Chateau Massamier La Mignarde Tenement des Garouilhas from Minervois la Liviniere. Wow, that’s a mouthful to say (and to drink). 60% Syrah with 20% each Grenache and Carignan, carbonic maceration and 18 months in new French oak. Pretty serious winemaking for Languedoc. Deep, dark, black fruits and just enough oak to keep it well balanced. This is truly a great wine!
Cheers,
Gary
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:44 pm

That area of Minervois can produce some very nice wines. It is an area which most of us tend to pass by, a pity.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Carl Eppig » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:35 pm

Charles & Charles, Columbia Valley, Cabernet/Syrah, Whole Foods in Portland ($12.99). It is almost a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It gave cherry on the nose; full bodied and an elegant wine. Shared a bottle with Beverly at dinner. The wine matched perfectly with loin tips marinated in sweet soy sauce, Sake, ginger and garlic; as well as baked sweet potatoes, and green beans almandine. Yum!!!
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Salil

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Salil » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:13 pm

2006 Bernard Levet Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche
Opened during the storm, while crossing fingers and hoping the power wouldn't go out (It didn't. Whew.)
Another fantastic bottle of this. Everything I want in Côte-Rôtie; meaty, floral and peppery notes around black olives and pure red fruits, and really elegant with a sense of purity and a delicate touch to the flavours.
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Salil

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Salil » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:26 pm

Salil wrote:2010 Éric Texier Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban Vieille Serine

Opened at 2 pm to give it some air. First impression then with a few small sips were that this is a beautiful, pure and fragrant expression of classic North Rhone Syrah.

A few hours later, after it's had some time to breathe, it's utterly jawdropping.

I am awed that a wine with this finesse and sense of seamlessness is still available for around $35. (I can think of very few examples from Côte-Rôtie or other more exalted and more expensive appellations that have this sort of fragrance, purity and elegance.)

Fresh berried fruit framed by a bright high toned florality, savoury earthiness and gentler meaty and saline elements, all conveyed with a delicate touch and amazing finesse on the palate. Bright acids keep it very fresh and lively, and the flavours linger long after each sip. Utterly spectacular wine.

Thanks, Eric.

Just opened another bottle of this to go with dinner. Similar impressions - with air, this turns into something really special; fragrant, elegant, so seamless and impeccably balanced.

As much as I moan that growers like Gentaz, Verset and Trollat are no longer around, I'm incredibly excited that we have people like Eric Texier, Pierre and Jean Gonon, Thierry Allemand and the Levets making some absolutely stellar wines with Serine/Syrah in that style these days.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:22 pm

Not to mention Steve Edmunds working his magic in California!
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Andrew Bair

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Andrew Bair » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:37 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:That area of Minervois can produce some very nice wines. It is an area which most of us tend to pass by, a pity.



Bob - Definitely agreed here. If you can get any of the Centeilles wines in Alberta, definitely give them a try.
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Andrew Bair

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Re: Wine Focus for October: Syrah and Syrah blends

by Andrew Bair » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:42 pm

Unfortunately, I didn't get around to opening a monovarietal Syrah or Syrah-dominated wine this month, so these will have to do:

2010 Château de Saint-Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône “Les Deux Albion”
A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Clairette. Full-bodied, balanced, with smooth tannins; shows spicy/somewhat meaty dark fruit notes with a bit of blackcurrant. Good/very good right now; possibly better with some time.
For the purposes of this thread, maybe I should have gone with their basic CdR, which is 100% Syrah; even if I liked this bottling better.

2009 Domaine Roger Perrin Châteauneuf-du-Pape
76% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre; the rest Cinsault, Clairette, Counoise, and Vaccarèse. Full-bodied, tannic; more elegant and traditional in style, with dark berry, meaty, spicy, and lightly herbal notes. Very good; possibly better, depending on how this develops.
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