Our Wine Tasting Setup
The wines we tasted:
• 2003 Drew Syrah Six Sense Santa Barbara County: Drew Wines focuses solely on vineyard and appellation specific Pinot Noir and Syrah. The Six Sense Syrah is a blend of 100% Syrah from six different vineyards located within Santa Barbara County, and from six different grape clones. The different components of the wine were barreled separately and aged for eleven months, in a combination of French and American oak barrels, 1/3 new, 2/3 neutral. Our notes: nose of sweet cherry nectar, ripe and smooth on the palate, spices and herbs on the finish. Well balanced, food friendly. Finished in second position.
• 2005 Ridge Syrah Lytton West: Ridge's Lytton West Vineyard is located in the hills separating the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys in Sonoma County. The wine is 94% Syrah cofermented with 6% Viognier. According to the winery's website, “Viognier has a beautiful pungency of apricot, peach, and white flower which helps lift the total aroma of syrah which tends to be dark and gamey.” Our notes: nose of cooked fruit with notes of cinnamon and blueberry. Rich, smooth on the palate with flavors of creamy custard. Lengthy finish. Finished in first position.
• 2003 Columbia Crest Reserve Syrah Columbia Valley: founded over 20 years ago, Columbia Crest is one of Washington State's main wine producers. The 2003 Reserve Syrah was co-fermented with 2% of whole berry Viognier whith fruits coming from two vineyard sites—one for Syrah and one for Viognier—in the Horse Heaven Hills appellation. Our notes: fruit forward nose with notes of green pepper and cocoa. On the palate, medium bodied, high in alcohol with a spicy, earthy finish. Finished in third position.
• 2006 Cornas Granit 30 Domaine Vincent Paris: Vincent Paris, co-president of the Cornas appellation, owns 6 hectares of vineyards located along the southeast facing Cornas slope as well as in the nearby St. Joseph appellation. He makes two Cornas designations, the Granit 30 and Granit 60, that differ in terms of soil, age of the vines, and location in the slope. The Granit 30 comes from younger vines at a lower grade slope and is made in a more “consumer friendly” style. Our notes: barnyard aromas on the nose, tannic, acidic on the palate, not consumer friendly. Finished last.
• 2005 Cristom Estate Syrah: Cristom Vineyards cultivates eight distinct vineyards in the Eola Hills area of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Plantings include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Syrah. The vineyards are dry farmed with low yield. Our notes: notes of chemicals on the nose, tight, tannic, acidic on the palate. Finished in fifth position.
• 2002 Pipestone Reserve Syrah Paso Robles: Pipestone Vineyards is a small family winery located in the Paso Robles appellation. It is dedicated to sustainable farming and producing handmade Estate Grown Rhône-style wines from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Viognier and a dry-farmed Zinfandel. The Estate Syrah is grown on a south-facing hillside in the estate vineyard. Hand-harvested, it was aged in French and American oak barrels for 24 months. Our notes: dusty nose of caramel and cocoa. On the palate, high in alcohol, dry, tannic, not so well balanced but drinkable. Finished fourth.
Previous blind wine tastings:
• Blind Tasting of Cabernet Blends from Washington State
• Blind Tasting of Pinot Noir from Los Carneros and Anderson Valley
• Blind Tasting of Grenache-based Wines
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