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13 July 2005

4 Syraz/3 Takes/1 'Ick!'

Generally speaking, when I hear the word, "Syrah," I think of more restrained, old world wine like this.  And When I hear "Shiraz," I think of big, exuberant new world wine like this.  Yet, a recent tasting has completely blurred my perceptions of Syrah/Shiraz.  Perhaps a wine should be referred to as, "Syraz," until after one has tasted it and made the call...

4 Syraz

  1. Annie's Lane Clare Valley (Aus) Shiraz, '02
  2. Liberty School California Syrah, '00
  3. Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch (S.A.) Shiraz, '01
  4. EXP Dunnigan Hills (Cali.) Syrah, '02

3 Takes

  1. Annie's Lane ($13) - Deep black cherry in color with a distinct pink/red rim; nearly opaque.  Amazingly restrained for an Australian Shiraz (at least per my past Aussie Shiraz experiences). Red & black berries, plums, black pepper, slightly woody, with just a hint of "Aussie Tar" (What I call the unmistakable scent of most baked fruity, nearly burnt Aussie Shiraz).  Well-balanced and quite good with pan-seared steak.  *** (3 stars out of 5).  Verdict:  More Syrah than Shiraz
  1.  (above)
  2. Liberty School ($14) - Dark, inky indigo in color with a rusty red rim.  Strong and definite scents of berries and plums, vanilla, baked blueberries, and some pepper.  Medium-bodied with bold fruit flavors and round tannins.  Lowish acidity, slightly high alcohol.  A little too overpowering for most food.  Stick with it as a solo-drinkin wine.  **.5 (2.5 stars out of 5).  Verdict:  More Shiraz than Syrah
  3. Rust en Vrede ($20) - Deep ruby red - heading towards indigo; a definite light red rim.  It almost smells like a Cabernet - red & black currants, cedar, meat, fresh figs.  Much lighter in the mouth than expected.  Light, integrated tannins, smoky flavors, and a lasting finish.  This wine seems almost too delicate for a Shiraz.  I doubt it will age more than 3 or so more years.  ***.5 (3.5 stars out of 5).  Verdict:  More Syrah than Shiraz

1 "Ick!"

EXP Syrah ($11) - I couldn't finish my tasting portion. Overpowering green/vegetal flavors coupled to a flabby mouthfeel, and off-putting finish. Verdict:  Take a guess


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