Browse Tag


Bubbles in flight

[bottle]Wyndham Estate Sparkling Shiraz “Bin 555” (South Eastern Australia) – Blueberry and sweet plum with licorice candy. It’s too sweet for me (25g/l residual sugar), a berry dessert with a little tannin, but as dessert I suppose it’s OK. I just think dry versions are so much more interesting. (9/07)

Amavi 2005 Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) – Strongly fruity, showing blueberry, black cherry and blackberry with a dense overlay of spice and chocolate. There’s a hint of thyme on the finish. Good weight and decent (but only just) structure make this a reasonably solid wine. (9/07)

[label]Gordon Brothers 2003 Syrah (Columbia Valley) – Mint and blueberry, tight and twisted and hollow. Or perhaps fallow. Either way, there’s almost nothing here. Bad bottle? (9/07)

Extra, extra

Gramercy Cellars 2005 Syrah “Lagniappe” (Columbia Valley) – Lush and ripe, but overly toasted and too buttery, with a texture like well-worn velvet throws on a long-used sofa. Turns sickly in the finish. A shame, too, as there are a few promising aromatics hanging about. (9/07)

Too Chaillot, hush hush

Allemand 1997 Cornas Chaillot (Rhône) – From magnum. A grand cru Burgundy of Cornas. Polished, but in no way slick. Dark meat and blood aromas, roasted walnuts and garlic-sautéed black trumpets, mouth-coating texture and a beautiful, can’t-wait-for-the-next-sip finish. Absolutely fabulous. (10/07)


Jasmin 1996 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – Subtle and pretty, as is Jasmin’s wont, with very smooth, supple, softened meat-stone “fruit” and delicate dustings of thyme, lavender and dried mushroom. It’s long, but a large part of that length is one solid, pure note. I think more time will bring forth additional complexities, but it’s a most affable dinner companion right now. (10/07)

Matthew, Mark, Luke…

[steve & grapes]Edmunds St. John 1995 Syrah Durell (Sonoma Valley) – Very primary and mostly monolithic, despite some hints of darkly brooding earth and slowly-developing roasted fruit. There’s still a load of tannin as well, and while the quality of this wine is obvious, it’s nowhere near being ready to drink, much less anything even vaguely approximating maturity. Do it (and yourself) a favor and put it back to bed before it hurts somebody. (8/07)

Grist for the mill

[label]Bradford Mountain 2002 Syrah Grist (Dry Creek Valley) – 15.5%. Unmistakably syrah, and just as unmistakably Californian, with thick blueberry dominating a breath of leather and velvety tannin. If there’s oak here (and there probably is), the fruit’s soaked it all up, but the alcohol does remain a bit prickly. A lush, full-bodied but structured wine with aging potential…though watch that heat. (8/07)

Rough diamond

Rosemount 2005 Shiraz (South Eastern Australia) – This is the Diamond Label bottling. Bitter and somewhat rancid fruit in a synthetic key. Ugly. (8/07)

Star trek

[bottle]Voyager Estate 2003 Shiraz (Margaret River) – Flavorful, full-bodied and balanced, with affable dark berry and leather characters structured by soft tannin and a light winemaking hand. A solid performer, though there’s no complexity (at least not yet). (7/07)