Category Archives: Shiraz

All About Syrah

Sequel Syrah, Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage, & Two Hands Shiraz

Sequel Syrah, Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage, & Two Hands Shiraz

I’m always in the mood for a glass of Syrah, and lately I’ve had the opportunity to try some good ones.  A while back at a family get-together we compared 3 different Syrahs: one each from Australia, Washington State, and France.  It was a chance to compare wines from three completely different terriors, as well as  comparing the old world versus the new world style of winemaking.  First up was a Shiraz from the Borossa Valley of Australia, a 2008 Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz ($70, 14.8% ABV).  This one I have reviewed before, and it is very well made wine.  Full bodied with a nice flavor of blackberries and spice, it was a nice one to start with.  The second wine was A 2007 Sequal Syrah from the Long Shadows series of wineries ($30, 14.7%), out of the Columbia Valley of Washington State.  This was a full bodied wine as well, with a nice deep purple color.  Along with a good structure, it had aomas of blackberry and spicey oak.  It seemed to take a little while to open up, but it was a very good glass of wine.  The final wine was a 2010 Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage ($21, 13.5%), from the Rhone Valley of France. A Peter Weygandt selection ,this wine had a deep ruby red color to it with aromas of cherry and spice, and along with that the first sip yielded a nice earthiness, along with a smooth finish.  This wine also took a little while to open up, but when it did it certainly was good. This wine certainly seemed to be the most food friendly, and paired quite nicely with the rib steaks we were having. All three wines were well made, and it was hard to pick which one I liked best. The Australian and Washington State wines both were both of the new world winemaking style, full bodied with juicy fruit and spicy oak. The Crozes Hermitage comparatively was the old world; medium bodied with a earthy tones and and a smooth finish, and a little more food friendly. I would have to recommend them all, it just depends if you favor the old world or new world style of wine making.
Other producers to check out that make a fine Syrah would be Purple Star and Arbor Crest, both from Washington State. Purple Star is a Columbia Valley winery, and for this 2008 Syrah ($14, 13.9%) the grapes were from both the Whaluke
Purple Star 2008 Syrah

Purple Star 2008 Syrah

Slope AVA and the Yakima Valley AVA. This wine had a smooth finish and aromas of blackberries and spicy vanilla.
Arbor Crest 2009 Syrah

Arbor Crest 2009 Syrah

Arbor Crest makes an excellent Syrah as well, with the 2009 vintage ($24, 13.8%) being quite exceptional. This wine is made from Columbia Valley grapes sourced from 3 vineyards. It is full bodied with aromas of spicy blackberry and oak, and has a nice spicy finish as well. The 2010 vintage is also an excellent choice.
Now that spring has sprung, might as well enjoy it with a nice glass of syrah:)


The Razor’s Edge

So I admit, the label on this wine sold me.  However it was a good bottle of wine, and besides isn’t label art supposed to sell wine?

Razor’s Edge 2008 Shiraz

Razor’s Edge is from the McLaren Vale region in South Australia.  This region is located 20 miles south of Adelaide, and the first vines were planted there in 1838.  Together with an excellent range of soil types and an annual rainfall of about 22 inches, it has become one of the most important wine producing regions in Australia.  The producers of McLaren Vale have gained a good reputation for big, full-bodied red wines.  This 2008 Shiraz was a pretty decent glass of wine.  It had a nice purple color to it, with hints of spice on the nose, and a nice smooth finish of spicy blackberry.  Just a little hot at 14.5% alcohol, however it still was pretty well balanced, and was a great glass of wine to relax and enjoy the evening with.   

I also tried the Razor’s Edge Shiraz – Grenache blend.  This  2008 is a blend of 75% Shiraz and 25% Grenache.  This wine was definitely not as full-bodied as the 2008 Shiraz, but still had a nice smoothness to it, along with a spicy finish.  Overall I would say you can’t go wrong with both of these wines, and also for $10.49 each, the price is right for some great, easy drinking wine.



Barossa Valley Shiraz

Australia is known for its Shiraz (Syrah), and some of the best Shiraz comes from The Barossa Valley, which is located in South Australia  about 40 miles Northeast of the city of Adelaide.  Vines were first planted her in 1847, and by the 1880s the area had a reputation as one of the most well known wine producing regions in Australia.  The vines are planted mainly on flat lands, but at elevations of 800 to 1,800 feet in some spots.  And although it is a hot and dry climate, the vines are cooled by the ocean breezes.   A lot of the Shiraz produced here is world famous, with many of the grapes grown on vines that have been around since the mid 1800s.  Other grapes grown here are whites such as Riesling, chardonnay, and Semillon, as well as reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mourvedre.  I was lucky enough to try out a Barrosa Valley Shiraz this weekend, a 2009 Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz.  This was a fantastic wine, and possibly the best Shiraz I have ever tried.  It presented itself in a deep, dark purple, and had a nose of ripe blackberry with hints of spice.  It had great silky smooth finish, with mellow tannins and a delicious taste of spicy black fruit.  The alcohol at 14.8% sounds high, but is hardly noticeable as the wine is extremely well balanced.  This vintage was ranked no. 35 of the top 100 wines of 2011 by Wine Spectator, and also received a rating of 94.  It was a great glass of wine, and I would highly recommend it!

Two Hands 2009 Bella’s Garden Shiraz

Other news out of Australia deals with Tasmania.  The island has been ranked just behind China as the best place in the world to invest in the wine industry.  Reasons for the ranking were the island’s cool climate, abundance of water, and lack of pests among others.  Tasmania has a history of wine growing that dates back to the early 1800s, but has really not not seen much growth until relatively recently.  The cool climate makes it ideal for grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are currently the most popular varieties grown.  Other grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer.  Some officials claim that Tasmania has great potential, even going as far to saying it could become the Champagne of the southern hemisphere.  It shall be interesting to see what happens.

And finally, if you are looking for a wine to enjoy the warm weather with, this Rhone Valley rose might be the perfect drink for quenching you thirst.

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