Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#51 Post by awilliamson4 » October 10th, 2016, 12:01 pm

Wind Gap Armagh vineyard is something that i always equate to this.
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#52 Post by Wes Barton » October 10th, 2016, 12:13 pm

Bennett Valley suits Syrah very well, for those who want to make a savory cool climate version. It's also one of those regions where there isn't so much pressure to produce a more popular style. Speaking of which, if you're like me, you'll note that you'll enjoy the excellent suggestions above that are in the $20-30 range much more than highly rated big/ripe/oaky Syrahs in the $45-60 range.
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#53 Post by Brandon R » October 10th, 2016, 2:05 pm

PeterH wrote: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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#54 Post by Frank Murray III » October 10th, 2016, 3:40 pm

awilliamson4 wrote:Wind Gap Armagh vineyard is something that i always equate to this.
As would I, actually the Wind Gap house style.

I also agree about Copain, but I don't find the Copain syrahs savory. The stem inclusion is well under what I believe Wind Gap uses and the Copain syrahs will often reflect to me an elegance, purple and red fruits, olive, garrigue.

Someone else mentioned Riverain. Not sure I would call that savory, although the new wood is quite low and I think the stem inclusion similar (to bit less) than that of Copain. The wines are dark, dense and have some of the olive, herb quality from the cluster.

Rhys Horseshoe is also in this same moderately savory camp, for me in between Copain and Wind Gap.

In the end, this idea of savory is quite subjective to me. I love savory, a lot, but I find now that the Copain and Rhys are about as dialed into savory as I enjoy now. Riverain a like a lot, have all the vintages...the wine just show more density and TRB flare.
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#55 Post by Bob Watt » October 11th, 2016, 6:18 am

I have to pile on the Gramercy recommendation as well. Greg Harrington is a Master Sommelier, originally from NY. He makes some absolutely wonderful savory Syrahs. Love his stuff.

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#56 Post by T. Altmayer » October 11th, 2016, 7:24 am

Lagier Meredith and Peay are my two favorite syrah producers. Both styles are restrained and savory.
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#57 Post by Anton D » October 11th, 2016, 7:36 am

Frank Murray III wrote:
awilliamson4 wrote:Wind Gap Armagh vineyard is something that i always equate to this.
As would I, actually the Wind Gap house style.

I also agree about Copain, but I don't find the Copain syrahs savory. The stem inclusion is well under what I believe Wind Gap uses and the Copain syrahs will often reflect to me an elegance, purple and red fruits, olive, garrigue.

Someone else mentioned Riverain. Not sure I would call that savory, although the new wood is quite low and I think the stem inclusion similar (to bit less) than that of Copain. The wines are dark, dense and have some of the olive, herb quality from the cluster.

Rhys Horseshoe is also in this same moderately savory camp, for me in between Copain and Wind Gap.

In the end, this idea of savory is quite subjective to me. I love savory, a lot, but I find now that the Copain and Rhys are about as dialed into savory as I enjoy now. Riverain a like a lot, have all the vintages...the wine just show more density and TRB flare.
That was a great over-view.
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#58 Post by Bob Hoelting » October 11th, 2016, 7:48 am

I'd sure like a better definition of savory is it being applied in this context. According to dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, savory is defined as:

1- pleasant or agreeable in taste and smell
2- having a spicy or salty quality without being sweet
3- pleasing, attractive, or agreeable
4- piquaint
5- morally good

By those standards, most dry wines fit the definition (even #5, right? ;)
And apparently, any sweet-ish wine cannot be considered savory?
Interesting.

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#59 Post by Doug Schulman » October 11th, 2016, 7:53 am

I'll reiterate a few, and add one that I haven't seen mentioned.

Copain
Wind Gap
Qupe
Edmunds St John
Gramercy Cellars
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#60 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 11th, 2016, 7:56 am

Jake Rubash wrote: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.
Jake; Of course I am slightly prejudiced [rofl.gif] but drop my kid an e-mail. They are super busy with harvest & stuff at the moment but do give it a try.


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#61 Post by s.spewock » October 11th, 2016, 9:11 am

Unti Benchland Syrah is always a favorite of mine beyond those already mentioned.
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#62 Post by ykwon » October 11th, 2016, 9:27 am

Bob Hoelting wrote:I'd sure like a better definition of savory is it being applied in this context. According to dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, savory is defined as:

1- pleasant or agreeable in taste and smell
2- having a spicy or salty quality without being sweet
3- pleasing, attractive, or agreeable
4- piquaint
5- morally good

By those standards, most dry wines fit the definition (even #5, right? ;)
And apparently, any sweet-ish wine cannot be considered savory?
Interesting.
So you're saying the wine is a bit salty? ;)
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#63 Post by dsGriswold » October 11th, 2016, 10:14 am

I will second the Cabot. I got a couple cases of the '10 Humbolt. Up in WA, Kerloo and Rotie deliver what I like as does Matello Fool's Journey Deux Vert and Franchere Havline from the WV.
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#64 Post by Rob_S » October 11th, 2016, 10:20 am

Add my vote to the Enfield column. Herbs, bloody meat, some pipe tobacco, some bacon. Needs time like a N. Rhone.
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#65 Post by K e v i n B. » October 11th, 2016, 10:47 am

agree on Sandler

Would also add Anthill Farms syrahs to the list... in the mold of the pinot, cool climate, higher acid, northern rhone-esque with pepper, florals, some game.
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#66 Post by robert creth » October 11th, 2016, 11:50 am

Boony Doon produces several lovely Syrahs. Their Bien Nacido is great but my fav is the Jespersen which is a bit herbal and and kinda barnyard in a good way.

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#67 Post by MitchTallan » October 11th, 2016, 12:29 pm

JulianD wrote:Bedrock
The old Miriam's definition for savory says something about salty and/or spicy without being sweet.
I don't get Bedrock syrah. It tastes like a variation of Shebang and Bedrock ripe zin to me.

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#68 Post by Doug Schulman » October 11th, 2016, 12:48 pm

Bob Hoelting wrote:I'd sure like a better definition of savory is it being applied in this context. According to dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, savory is defined as:

1- pleasant or agreeable in taste and smell
2- having a spicy or salty quality without being sweet
3- pleasing, attractive, or agreeable
4- piquaint
5- morally good

By those standards, most dry wines fit the definition (even #5, right? ;)
And apparently, any sweet-ish wine cannot be considered savory?
Interesting.
I don't know if you're serious or just [stirthepothal.gif] . It was clear to me, as this usage seems pretty common, that we're talking about wines that display aromas commonly associated with umami-rich foods (umami="savory"), which in this case would be largely the common Syrah characteristics of olives and grilled meats/bacon.

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#69 Post by MitchTallan » October 11th, 2016, 1:15 pm

In cooking, savory is the opposite of sweet.
The first definition of "savory" offered by M-W is relatively meaningless, right up there with my least favorite food oriented word, "tasty". I like too how the third offering is virtually identical to the first.

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#70 Post by Hans Werge » October 11th, 2016, 1:42 pm

I found Kerloo from WA quite savoury. Even their modestly priced Grenach/Syrah blend had some whole cluster syrah character

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#71 Post by Bob Hoelting » October 11th, 2016, 1:43 pm

Doug, you pretty much answered my question and gave the definition I was looking for, though you seem to confine it to aroma, I fully get the umami analogy but to me, that is more of a palate thing.

Mitch, if savory is the opposite of sweet in cooking, isn't dry the opposite of sweet in wine? It seems here, that the term savory is taking on a lot of other characteristics besides just being dry. I think we're into some third realm that encompasses umami-salty-spicy outside of being sweet or dry.

There are many wines being recommended here and I've had very few of them so I wonder, are they ALL savory? I have a feeling if we lined up everything that's been recommended we would possibly get a very broad spectrum of Syrah.

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#72 Post by Eric S n y d e r » October 11th, 2016, 2:10 pm

ykwon wrote:
Bob Hoelting wrote:I'd sure like a better definition of savory is it being applied in this context. According to dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, savory is defined as:

1- pleasant or agreeable in taste and smell
2- having a spicy or salty quality without being sweet
3- pleasing, attractive, or agreeable
4- piquaint
5- morally good

By those standards, most dry wines fit the definition (even #5, right? ;)
And apparently, any sweet-ish wine cannot be considered savory?
Interesting.
So you're saying the wine is a bit salty? ;)
In wine terms, I associate savory with foods that are a bit salty, but I wouldn't say the wine is salty.

Bacon, olive, tapenade, etc.

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#73 Post by Jay Miller » October 11th, 2016, 2:15 pm

Edmunds St. John and Rhys for me.

Which is not to disagree with all the other recommendations. I haven't tried even half of them.
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#74 Post by John Morris » October 11th, 2016, 2:29 pm

Don't get too hung up on the word "savory." I think the original query was pretty clear -- he wants wines that are more Northern Rhone-like than most domestic syrahs:
"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."
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#75 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 11th, 2016, 2:36 pm

Which is why Arnot-Roberts, ESJ and some of Wind Gap fits in so well. As much as I love the Lagier Meredith Syrah, it is a much bigger and fruitier style than would meet the savory, N. Rhone-like request.
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#76 Post by Alan Rath » October 11th, 2016, 4:15 pm

I think Jake in his original post is almost looking for something that doesn't exist: the domestic equivalent of an aged Rhone without too much stem inclusion. That's a tall order, because a) there are extremely few domestic Syrahs that fall at the low end of the ripeness scale found in Rhone, and b) few of those have been around long enough to develop the aged "savory" character that I think Jake is referring to. Only two producers come to my mind, and those would be for wines older than, say, 15 years or more: Edmunds St John (select sites), and the old Failla-Jordan Syrah from Que Syrah vineyard.

As far as wines available today that I think fit the profile Jake is looking for, a lot of them have been mentioned already. My own recommendations would be (limiting to wines I know pretty well):

Cabot
Copain
Halcon
Lagier Meredith
Peay
Rhys

Some of these are a little "bigger", but all are beautifully balanced wines that would easily fit the less ripe/jammy criterion. Only way to know is to try them!
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#77 Post by Michael Martin » October 11th, 2016, 6:00 pm

larry schaffer wrote:but to me, it comes down to vintage and site.
Cheers!
I never would have recommended Jaffurs to the OP, but we had a 2008 Jaffurs Upslope on Sunday and it was all saline/tapenade, dark fruits and herbs. So as Larry said, vintage and site matters too.

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#78 Post by Wes Barton » October 11th, 2016, 6:30 pm

Alan Rath wrote:I think Jake in his original post is almost looking for something that doesn't exist: the domestic equivalent of an aged Rhone without too much stem inclusion.
He specifically asked for "herbal". That sure alludes to stem inclusion, from some sites, to me. I guarantee you, with a well chosen blind line up, would have serious trouble identifying the level of stem inclusion. Some with zero can seem like a lot. Some with 100% can seem like very little. That makes "too much stem inclusion" kind of nonsensical.

When I think "savory" in a wine it tends to be related to a dried herb character, often quite literally summer savory. I don't sub in less specific terms when I can nail a descriptor like "black olive tapenade", "bacon fat" or whatever. More like "dried savory herbs".

Mitch/Bob, savory isn't the opposite of sweet. It's the taste umami. Changing the level of one taste element will effect your perception of the others without changing their level. So, adding sugar to a wine will make it appear less acidic without being less acidic, for example.
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#79 Post by Joe S. » October 11th, 2016, 7:54 pm

I agree with the "umami" definition of savory, but I might equate it more to soy sauce like flavors, i.e slightly salty, mouth coating, funky, bloody, savory herbal of flavor.
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#80 Post by jnbrown » October 11th, 2016, 8:10 pm

Definitely Arnot Roberts and Wind Gap.
Piedrasassi SBC is a big wine but I would say its savory.
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#81 Post by Brian Tuite » October 11th, 2016, 8:13 pm

'14 Halcon Alturas. Paul dropped my order off the other day so I took a sneak peek. Exceptional.
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#82 Post by GregT » October 11th, 2016, 8:51 pm

What Brian said, and York Family, Martinelli Terra Felice, and the Jemrose Cardiac Hill I'm drinking right now. The latter is way more tannic than you want it to be for near-term drinking though.

All of the above have a bacony, meaty quality that's very nice.
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#83 Post by Alan Rath » October 11th, 2016, 9:03 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
Alan Rath wrote:I think Jake in his original post is almost looking for something that doesn't exist: the domestic equivalent of an aged Rhone without too much stem inclusion.
He specifically asked for "herbal". That sure alludes to stem inclusion, from some sites, to me. I guarantee you, with a well chosen blind line up, would have serious trouble identifying the level of stem inclusion. Some with zero can seem like a lot. Some with 100% can seem like very little. That makes "too much stem inclusion" kind of nonsensical.
Well, he said he didn't care for Cayuse, which is (or was, the last time I had one a few years ago) the poster child for green stems. Because he described an aged rhone, I inferred that his "savory" probably came from the age. But I really am not here to argue about it, that was just my take.
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#84 Post by Blake Brown » October 12th, 2016, 1:27 am

Aside from the aforementioned Jaffurs, Qupe and Drew, the surprising answer to your search comes from another Au Bon Climat label, Clendenen Family Vineyards.

Jim makes a syrah that is more N. Rhone like with up to 10% Viognier blended in. They are spicy and peppery and yes, savoury. His Syrahs are not released for years after bottling and are then age worthy for many more as well as being enjoyable early upon release. I suggest decanting.

Edited: I just found one on his website: 2009 Syrah/Viognier Rancho La Cuna [I`ve had 2004 and 2005 recently, both fantastic]

"Spice and smoke accented dark berries and licorice on the highly fragrant nose.The addition of Viognier (10%) to the rich, deep Syrah lends a suppleness that makes this wine intriguing and enjoyable now." $35 [a deal}.
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#85 Post by larry schaffer » October 12th, 2016, 7:41 am

Blake,

You sure you are not Jim Clendenon in disguise?!?!? :-)

Yep, Jim does make some wonderful wines, but I never thought of him as a 'rhone' guy - but heck, what do I know?!?!

Another one to to check out, if you want that Cote Rotie style, would be Foxen - their Toasted Rope normally has up to 20% viognier and is usually well-liked, and they offer at least one other 100% syrah.

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#86 Post by Doug Schulman » October 12th, 2016, 7:48 am

Alan Rath wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:
Alan Rath wrote:I think Jake in his original post is almost looking for something that doesn't exist: the domestic equivalent of an aged Rhone without too much stem inclusion.
He specifically asked for "herbal". That sure alludes to stem inclusion, from some sites, to me. I guarantee you, with a well chosen blind line up, would have serious trouble identifying the level of stem inclusion. Some with zero can seem like a lot. Some with 100% can seem like very little. That makes "too much stem inclusion" kind of nonsensical.
Well, he said he didn't care for Cayuse, which is (or was, the last time I had one a few years ago) the poster child for green stems. Because he described an aged rhone, I inferred that his "savory" probably came from the age. But I really am not here to argue about it, that was just my take.
He said Cayuse is too funky. I don't think that would have anything to do with stems. A lot of the wines recommended seem to fit the bill to me.

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#87 Post by M. Meer » October 12th, 2016, 8:52 am

I have a soft spot for Copain's Halcon Vineyard syrah and Qupe's Sawyer Lindquist. I also always liked the wines from Alisos, which I believe is own-rooted.
In general, I think syrah might be the best wine made in Santa Barbara, which has many styles, but it sounds like you might be looking for wines that come from a cooler climate, which I think is Sta. Rita Hills and west and Los Alamos/Santa Maria on up.
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#88 Post by Alan Rath » October 12th, 2016, 8:57 am

Doug Schulman wrote:He said Cayuse is too funky. I don't think that would have anything to do with stems.
As I said, I haven't had a Cayuse in several years. But every Cayuse wine I've ever had has had a huge green vegetal stem signature. I've never had destemmed syrah that smelled anything like their wines.
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#89 Post by Blake Brown » October 12th, 2016, 12:39 pm

larry schaffer wrote:Blake,

You sure you are not Jim Clendenon in disguise?!?!? :-)

Yep, Jim does make some wonderful wines, but I never thought of him as a 'rhone' guy - but heck, what do I know?!?!

Another one to to check out, if you want that Cote Rotie style, would be Foxen - their Toasted Rope normally has up to 20% viognier and is usually well-liked, and they offer at least one other 100% syrah.

Cheers
Larry, I obviously like a lot of Jim`s wines and this is one that knocked my socks off not thinking he can do great Syrah when Qupe is in the house especially. This is stylistically way different from Bob`s fine wines and it hits the spot for me with the N. Rhone attributes. I

I`ve had Billy`s Syrah and it is definitely good and very different from the CFV.

I know, I need to taste through your wines and expand my awareness of SB County Rhone producer exposures. I have no doubt, you do great wines. Some day my friend.
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#90 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » October 12th, 2016, 1:19 pm

I find Cayuse Armada in some vintages to be aromatically close to Hudson Vineyard Syrah.
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#91 Post by Wes Barton » October 12th, 2016, 2:08 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:
Alan Rath wrote:I think Jake in his original post is almost looking for something that doesn't exist: the domestic equivalent of an aged Rhone without too much stem inclusion.
He specifically asked for "herbal". That sure alludes to stem inclusion, from some sites, to me. I guarantee you, with a well chosen blind line up, would have serious trouble identifying the level of stem inclusion. Some with zero can seem like a lot. Some with 100% can seem like very little. That makes "too much stem inclusion" kind of nonsensical.
Well, he said he didn't care for Cayuse, which is (or was, the last time I had one a few years ago) the poster child for green stems. Because he described an aged rhone, I inferred that his "savory" probably came from the age. But I really am not here to argue about it, that was just my take.
My point is stem inclusion is as complicated as oak. Green character is more about fluid in the stems than if they're green. You can munch down on them and get anything from harshly astringent and green to mild, pleasant green hay to nothing but brown spices (which we saw a lot of in '13) to not much of anything, and so forth. How you handle them is important. How you handle the grapes and must are important. Depending on how rough or gentle a destemmer is and the nature of the particular stems you're dealing with, you can completely destem, rupturing a lot of stems, introducing tons of nasty green character and having none of the spice. Or you can go 100% whole cluster, handle it very gently so as not to rupture, and get all the spice with little or no green, despite a lot of nasty fluid in the stems. So, too much green character from stems in a wine is more about bad judgment than the percentage of stem inclusion. (Btw, Tom's '15 PN saw at least 400% stem inclusion due to shatter, then a heat wave. We painstakingly plucked out all the raisins while picking, then I foot stomped. Stems were mild green hay, so I left them. The wine has a huge amount of spice and tannin, but no green.)
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#92 Post by Wes Barton » October 12th, 2016, 2:18 pm

Blake Brown wrote:Aside from the aforementioned Jaffurs, Qupe and Drew, the surprising answer to your search comes from another Au Bon Climat label, Clendenen Family Vineyards.

Jim makes a syrah that is more N. Rhone like with up to 10% Viognier blended in. They are spicy and peppery and yes, savoury. His Syrahs are not released for years after bottling and are then age worthy for many more as well as being enjoyable early upon release. I suggest decanting.

Edited: I just found one on his website: 2009 Syrah/Viognier Rancho La Cuna [I`ve had 2004 and 2005 recently, both fantastic]

"Spice and smoke accented dark berries and licorice on the highly fragrant nose.The addition of Viognier (10%) to the rich, deep Syrah lends a suppleness that makes this wine intriguing and enjoyable now." $35 [a deal}.
<sigh> I think I need to try that. The Clendenen Family '08 Nebbiolo is the best California ones I've had, quite fantastic, and he's not too shabby with Chard and Pinot.
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#93 Post by R_Gilbane » October 12th, 2016, 2:26 pm

Another great option for super savory syrah is the Cruse Wine Co Syrah. Sourced from the Charles Heitz vineyard. I've had the '13 and '14 and it packs quite the punch. I thought the '14 was better than the '13. Priced under $30 as well.
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#94 Post by Scott Sutherland » October 12th, 2016, 6:07 pm

Wind gap Sarah's have all been savory in an olive and meaty way. They have some fruit to them as well but it is well integrated with the savory qualities. They are built in a leaner style. Joyful.

The old Pax Griffins Lair syrahs were all iron and meat to me but with a richness that is absent from the wind gap wines. Delicious.

I know you said you didn't like the Cayuse but the syrahs are textbook savory to me. They are meaty and herbal but they defiantly have a funk to them. Also richer wines. Super unique.

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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#95 Post by Jorge B » October 12th, 2016, 6:53 pm

Are any of you familiar with any Syrah from the Antle vineyard? It's farmed by Bill Brosseau, but is better know for its Pinot than Syrah.

I know some Syrah is made from Antle though, and I'm curious if anyone's had any.
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#96 Post by Mike Curran » October 12th, 2016, 7:35 pm

Lots of great suggestions. I'd throw Anthill Farms in the mix.

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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#97 Post by Blake Brown » October 13th, 2016, 12:06 am

Wes Barton wrote:
Blake Brown wrote:Aside from the aforementioned Jaffurs, Qupe and Drew, the surprising answer to your search comes from another Au Bon Climat label, Clendenen Family Vineyards.

Jim makes a syrah that is more N. Rhone like with up to 10% Viognier blended in. They are spicy and peppery and yes, savoury. His Syrahs are not released for years after bottling and are then age worthy for many more as well as being enjoyable early upon release. I suggest decanting.

Edited: I just found one on his website: 2009 Syrah/Viognier Rancho La Cuna [I`ve had 2004 and 2005 recently, both fantastic]

"Spice and smoke accented dark berries and licorice on the highly fragrant nose.The addition of Viognier (10%) to the rich, deep Syrah lends a suppleness that makes this wine intriguing and enjoyable now." $35 [a deal}.
<sigh> I think I need to try that. The Clendenen Family '08 Nebbiolo is the best California ones I've had, quite fantastic, and he's not too shabby with Chard and Pinot.
Wes, I so agree. Jim has been thought primarily of being a Burgundian type producer i.e. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Over the past few decades, I`ve had some remarkable wines way outside of these wines including the fine Nebbiolos you referred to. His recent Sauvignon Blancs are amazing and the Rieslings fall into that same descriptor. His few efforts with sparkling wine turned out some of the finest I`ve had from the new world. It goes on and on. He can flat out make wine and has the resources to do so whether it be old world varietals from France, Italy, Spain or Germany.
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#98 Post by Andrew Kotowski » October 13th, 2016, 3:28 am

Brandon R wrote:
PeterH wrote:From Washington state you should try Gramercy and Rotie Cellars.
Gramercy is fantastic, especially if you're looking for QPR and availability (~$25-$50). I find Reynvaan to be similar to Cayuse, but love both. Was difficult to pass on the Frog this year :-(
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#99 Post by Ncmussell » October 13th, 2016, 9:25 am

Blake was the first one to mention my favorite - Drew. They are making incredible syrahs from Valenti and Perli vineyards up on mendocino ridge. Just had another 2011 Valenti the other night that would be mistaken for a Northern Rhone wine in a blind tasting.
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Where to look for a savory domestic Syrah

#100 Post by Blake Brown » October 13th, 2016, 10:13 am

Ncmussell wrote:Blake was the first one to mention my favorite - Drew. They are making incredible syrahs from Valenti and Perli vineyards up on mendocino ridge. Just had another 2011 Valenti the other night that would be mistaken for a Northern Rhone wine in a blind tasting.
and that is just why I mentioned it; I got the same wonderful qualities out of the Drews.
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