Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

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Jake Rubash
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#1 Post by Jake Rubash » October 9th, 2016, 8:50 am

We are typically California Syrah drinkers but our palates have shifted from wanting big fruit with some savory elements to wanting savory elements with some fruit. We have tried a few aged N. Rhones that have given us exactly that. Is there a producer in the US that has been able to make a meaty, herbal Syrah? Cayuse and company (No Girls, Horsepower, etc) have proven to be a little too funky for us so that might limit some recommendations...

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#2 Post by John Morris » October 9th, 2016, 8:52 am

Copain's bottlings from Mendocino County fruit come immediately to mind. Also Edmunds St. John's syrahs. Others will have more suggestions, I'm sure.
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#3 Post by Matt Wood » October 9th, 2016, 9:11 am

La Clarine Sumu Kaw is always very savory. ESJ is a great choice also

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#4 Post by PeterH » October 9th, 2016, 9:24 am

From Washington state you should try Gramercy and Rotie Cellars.
A little lighter are Deux Vert Syrahs from the Willamette Valley- Biggio Hamina, Matello. Definitely Northern Rhone character.

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#5 Post by JulianD » October 9th, 2016, 9:35 am

Bedrock
Davies

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#6 Post by Eric S n y d e r » October 9th, 2016, 9:38 am

Not sure about current vintages, but a 2007 Amapola Creek Syrah that I had recently checked many of those Northern Rhone boxes. Smoky, charred meats, a bit herby, but balanced with dark fruit and plum. On the bigger side of Syrah.

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#7 Post by John S » October 9th, 2016, 9:42 am

What Matt said, ESJ and La Clarine Farm (Sumu Kaw) hit that note for me. Both great values to boot.
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#8 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » October 9th, 2016, 9:44 am

Arnot-Roberts SV Syrahs are definitely savory. Maybe stay away from Clary Ranch in warm vintages, that can be fruit-expressive Syrah.
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#9 Post by larry schaffer » October 9th, 2016, 9:51 am

Can I back you up a bit and find out which CA syrahs you've had in the past or recently that were of a bigger, riper style to calibrate things?

Cheers.
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#10 Post by Jason Hagen » October 9th, 2016, 10:08 am

+1 for Copain & Edmunds St. John.

Cowan Cellars.

Cabot

Would also second, Matello. The 2012 Fools Journey is still available for $25. Hard to imagine anything in California competing with this wine at that price.

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#11 Post by Jake Rubash » October 9th, 2016, 10:22 am

Let's see:

Bedrock
Myriad
Quivet
Bevan
Riverain
Nicora
Torrin
Carlisle
Herman Story

Top Syrah's that have been closest to what we're looking for are Myriad with some age on them and the Riverain. Still very fruit forward but definitely more interesting (imo) than the rest.

Was tempted to order some Sandler Syrah since we love Ed's pinots, if anyone has any experience with those...
larry schaffer wrote:Can I back you up a bit and find out which CA syrahs you've had in the past or recently that were of a bigger, riper style to calibrate things?

Cheers.

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#12 Post by Jason Hagen » October 9th, 2016, 10:25 am

I like the Sandler Syrahs a lot although it has been a few years since I have had one. Not sure it fits your original post but you should check Dehlinger and Arcadian based on the above post.

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#13 Post by jbray23 » October 9th, 2016, 10:55 am

Failla Hudson
Jason, back itb

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#14 Post by Jason Hagen » October 9th, 2016, 11:02 am

Whoa ..just saw this. http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vie ... 7&t=131697 Pretty tough to find a better deal to jump to syrah!

J

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#15 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » October 9th, 2016, 11:41 am

Halcon
Wind Gap
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#16 Post by Hal Blumberg » October 9th, 2016, 11:42 am

I second the suggestion of Arnot Roberts.

Cheers,

Hal

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#17 Post by CJ Beazley » October 9th, 2016, 11:51 am

Second Cabot
It's C(raig)

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#18 Post by rfelthoven » October 9th, 2016, 12:08 pm

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#19 Post by Anton D » October 9th, 2016, 12:38 pm

Sean Thackrey's Orion may be a syrah, we don't know for sure, but it may fit your bill! It is a very fun taste.

I am fond of Qupe, as well.

Kamen is good, too.

I am trying to lean more toward AFWE for the savory part.

Rhys!!!

I can see the future..."+1 on Rhys, Anton."
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#20 Post by JeromeHan » October 9th, 2016, 12:42 pm

Not a pure syrah, but I do enjoy Tablas Creek a lot.

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#21 Post by Jason Hagen » October 9th, 2016, 12:44 pm

Some new names for me to try mentioned in this thread.
Anton D wrote:Sean Thackrey's Orion may be a syrah, we don't know for sure, but it may fit your bill! It is a very fun taste.
Pretty sure it is confirmed Petit Sirah so it doesn't fit the variety but agree it would fit the bill and is fun to taste. Can be great. But man that price jump.

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#22 Post by Anton D » October 9th, 2016, 12:53 pm

Jason Hagen wrote:Some new names for me to try mentioned in this thread.
Anton D wrote:Sean Thackrey's Orion may be a syrah, we don't know for sure, but it may fit your bill! It is a very fun taste.
Pretty sure it is confirmed Petit Sirah so it doesn't fit the variety but agree it would fit the bill and is fun to taste. Can be great. But man that price jump.

Jason
That is interesting!

I am slow to keep up. The last I heard was that he thought it was syrah, but the geneticists couldn't figure it out! So, it's petit!

Thank you for telling me that! [cheers.gif]

Now, I will continue to wait for him to make Taurus again!
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#23 Post by larry schaffer » October 9th, 2016, 1:39 pm

Jake Rubash wrote:Let's see:

Bedrock
Myriad
Quivet
Bevan
Riverain
Nicora
Torrin
Carlisle
Herman Story

Top Syrah's that have been closest to what we're looking for are Myriad with some age on them and the Riverain. Still very fruit forward but definitely more interesting (imo) than the rest.

Was tempted to order some Sandler Syrah since we love Ed's pinots, if anyone has any experience with those...
larry schaffer wrote:Can I back you up a bit and find out which CA syrahs you've had in the past or recently that were of a bigger, riper style to calibrate things?

Cheers.
Based on this list, I would second those who have said the following:

Sandler
Wind Gap
Qupe
Arnot Roberts

Cheers
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#24 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 9th, 2016, 1:49 pm

Several good mentions already. I just want to second (or third) the nominations of Arnot-Roberts and Wind Gap.
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#25 Post by Michael Martin » October 9th, 2016, 2:26 pm

Enfield Haynes
Lagier Meredith Mt Veeder

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#26 Post by TomHill » October 9th, 2016, 2:34 pm

Failla Estate and Boheme OccidentalRidge.
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#27 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 9th, 2016, 2:44 pm

Mmm...Enfield...can't wait to get back to my cellar...
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#28 Post by Scott Watkins » October 9th, 2016, 2:51 pm

Only had it a couple of times but Arcadian Syrah Hommage à Max was quite savory also La Clarine.
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#29 Post by Nate Simon » October 9th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Enfield all day.

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#30 Post by Scott Everson » October 9th, 2016, 3:48 pm

Gramercy all night

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#31 Post by Matt Parham » October 9th, 2016, 4:00 pm

Drew
Riverain
Anything made from Griffin's Lair Vineyard- Bedrock, Arnot-Roberts, Pax, etc.

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#32 Post by Karen Troisi » October 9th, 2016, 4:06 pm

Pretty much any syrah from Las Madres Vineyard in Carneros. If you like black olive, earth and savory notes you'll like wines coming from this vineyard.
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#33 Post by Jason Hagen » October 9th, 2016, 4:24 pm

Michael Martin wrote: Lagier Meredith Mt Veeder
OMG! How could I forget Lagier Meredith. +50.

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#34 Post by Jason Hagen » October 9th, 2016, 4:27 pm

Anton D wrote: Now, I will continue to wait for him to make Taurus again!
Not so much in recent times, but I tended to geek out on Thackrey wines ... yet I have never had Taurus [cray.gif]

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#35 Post by Jody Smith » October 9th, 2016, 4:45 pm

Reynvaan is pretty savory, without the Cayuse funk. I'm also a fan of just about anything out of SLH. A couple names have already been mentioned- Carlisle's Rossella's should do it for you. Also, Jeff Ames has made killer renditions of this style from Hudson (I don't recall wether for Tor or his own label Rudius, but I remember one a few years ago being a huge meat/black olive bomb.)

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#36 Post by Rob Isaacs » October 9th, 2016, 5:12 pm

Culler Syrah is great choice. She's not making it anymore but it's on wine bid often, three of them there right now.

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#37 Post by Joe S. » October 9th, 2016, 6:48 pm

Jody Smith wrote:Reynvaan is pretty savory, without the Cayuse funk. I'm also a fan of just about anything out of SLH. A couple names have already been mentioned- Carlisle's Rossella's should do it for you. Also, Jeff Ames has made killer renditions of this style from Hudson (I don't recall wether for Tor or his own label Rudius, but I remember one a few years ago being a huge meat/black olive bomb.)
I've had some pretty funky Reynvaan syrah before - the 2008 The unnamed was funkilicous! Heard some of the others are less so.

As to the Tor - the 2006 Tor Kenward ROCK Syrah Hudson vineyard was fruity, meaty, and minerally all at the same time. I scored it a 93 back in 2013.
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#38 Post by Todd L » October 10th, 2016, 8:05 am

Melville Verna's is a nice option. Or for a bit more some of their single vineyards.
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#39 Post by brianmcbrearty » October 10th, 2016, 9:30 am

Savory, eh? I'm familiar with enough of the producers mentioned here to say, "wow are we ever all over the map." Lots of great wines listed, but it's all very emblematic of the difficulties of communicating taste. Congrats to Larry for trying, as usual, to rein things in a bit.
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#40 Post by larry schaffer » October 10th, 2016, 9:37 am

Unfortunately, even a term like 'savory' is up for interpretation. I dig syrah and many of the producers mentioned make killer syrahs for sure . . . but to me, it comes down to vintage and site. There are some sites like Las Madres that I believe produce, on average, quite savory syrahs . . .except if you pick too ripe.

A perfect example of this down in my neck of the woods is the Larner Vineyard in Ballard Canyon. Planted on 100% sand, the vines ripen slowly and yield is somewhat self-regulated. To me, there is a 'sweet spot' to pick, where the 'site' is noticable in the subsequent wines. Pick too early or too late and that is minimized . . .

Hope that helps - but you have lots of good hunting thus far me thinks :-)

Cheers!
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#41 Post by Jody Smith » October 10th, 2016, 10:10 am

Joe S. wrote:
Jody Smith wrote:Reynvaan is pretty savory, without the Cayuse funk. I'm also a fan of just about anything out of SLH. A couple names have already been mentioned- Carlisle's Rossella's should do it for you. Also, Jeff Ames has made killer renditions of this style from Hudson (I don't recall wether for Tor or his own label Rudius, but I remember one a few years ago being a huge meat/black olive bomb.)
I've had some pretty funky Reynvaan syrah before - the 2008 The unnamed was funkilicous! Heard some of the others are less so.

As to the Tor - the 2006 Tor Kenward ROCK Syrah Hudson vineyard was fruity, meaty, and minerally all at the same time. I scored it a 93 back in 2013.
My experience with Reynvaan is limited to two vintages (but the entire portfolio). I guess I got lucky as I'm not a fan of the funk either, unless it's the kind you can blow off with a decant.

You are right on the Tor, it was the 06, and sublime!

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#42 Post by larry schaffer » October 10th, 2016, 10:14 am

Todd L wrote:Melville Verna's is a nice option. Or for a bit more some of their single vineyards.
First off, Melville sold that vineyard a few years back so their 13 or 14 from that vineyard will be their last. Others may still end up calling it 'Vernas' but my guess is that they will shift to the new owners name - something like Sokrian . . .

I have not found that specific vineyard leading to 'savory' syrahs myself in the past. I have definitely found that the small block planted at Melville's SRH vineyard to lead to what you are talking about for sure.

And interestingly, Vernas is immediately across the street from White Hawk Vineyard, home of some great savory syrahs for sure!

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#43 Post by keithrherrick » October 10th, 2016, 10:21 am

To my palate, the Bedrock and Carlisle do not really seem that meaty and northern Rhone in character. The most meaty and northern Rhone new world wines that i have had, have been Arnot Roberts and Piedrasassi. Those are definitely worth checking out.

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#44 Post by Martin Steinley » October 10th, 2016, 10:26 am

Jake Rubash wrote:our palates have shifted from wanting big fruit with some savory elements to wanting savory elements with some fruit. We have tried a few aged N. Rhones that have given us exactly that.
Jake, this is a very typical evolution. I realize that you are requesting recommendations for California syrah, but why? There is a long list of northern Rhone syrah producers who make just what you have described, whose wines are readily available and at all price points. Moreover, the wines don't need age to have the savory aspect you describe. Many members here could make recommendations.
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#45 Post by Anton D » October 10th, 2016, 10:42 am

brianmcbrearty wrote:Savory, eh? I'm familiar with enough of the producers mentioned here to say, "wow are we ever all over the map." Lots of great wines listed, but it's all very emblematic of the difficulties of communicating taste. Congrats to Larry for trying, as usual, to rein things in a bit.
Good point.

I took 'savory' to mean not fruit forward.
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#46 Post by Jake Rubash » October 10th, 2016, 10:55 am

Martin Steinley wrote:
Jake Rubash wrote:our palates have shifted from wanting big fruit with some savory elements to wanting savory elements with some fruit. We have tried a few aged N. Rhones that have given us exactly that.
Jake, this is a very typical evolution. I realize that you are requesting recommendations for California syrah, but why? There is a long list of northern Rhone syrah producers who make just what you have described, whose wines are readily available and at all price points. Moreover, the wines don't need age to have the savory aspect you describe. Many members here could make recommendations.
I suppose you are correct here in that I am severely limiting myself by not looking outside the US. I love being in contact with the winemakers I buy from though. To me, it's awesome to be able to say when we're drinking a wine "oh hey, this <insert awesome wine here> is great. I should email the winkemaker/owner and let them know." I just wanted to see if anyone here was doing it first but believe me we are starting to try more N Rhones. Fortunately there are plenty of previous threads to draw recommendations from on that front.

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#47 Post by Jake Rubash » October 10th, 2016, 10:58 am

Thanks everyone for the recommendations! I certainly have a large number of wines to look for. I think I'm going to start by seeking out Cabot, Failla, Lagier Meredith and Enfield.

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#48 Post by Jorge B » October 10th, 2016, 10:58 am

What a great thread. Commenting just so I can save it. So many new wines to try!!
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#49 Post by R_Gilbane » October 10th, 2016, 11:06 am

Arnot-Roberts & Halcon for sure. Also should mention Donelan. Their last few vintages have been superb.
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#50 Post by Bryan Carr » October 10th, 2016, 11:35 am

Westerhold out of Bennett Valley is pretty savory and balanced, haven't had their extended barrel aged stuff but their regular bottling is pretty great.
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