WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

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D@vid Bu3ker
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WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#1 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 6th, 2019, 11:48 am

We started our blind tasting group 2019-2020 season last night. I hosted at my house, and served the following wines blind to the group. All of the reds were opened approximately 2 hours prior to the tasting to check condition, but the later wines had up to 90 more minutes of air just due to the length of the event.

These are snapshots, as I was busy running the tasting and talking to people I mostly had not seen for three months.
The welcome wine was the 2018 Massican ‘Annia’ (Napa Valley). It’s a blend of Tocai Friuliano, Ribolla Gialla and Chardonnay. White flowers, peach skin, light hay – it really smells like a warm summer day, but the acidity brings a cool breeze. This wine made a lot of new friends.

The first red flight was the 2012 Domaine Jamet Cote-Rotie and the 2011 Benetiere Cote-Rotie Cordeloux. The Jamet was good. It was very good. It needed coaxing, but the balance was excellent, and it had tons of depth. Clearly this was not the right time to open it, but I wanted to get an early feel for the wine, and see what longer term strategy to take. The Benetiere was far and away the wine of the night for the group. The aromatics were amazing, with roasted meat, bacon, smoke, black fruit and leather for starters. The palate was integrated, supple and completely drinkable. Amazing stuff.

Next up was the 2012 Enfield Wine Co. Syrah Haynes Vineyard and the 2005 Voge Cornas Vieilles Vignes. Must have been something about 2012, because the Enfield was just as grumpy as the Jamet. It did not want to show aromatically, and just sat there coiled up on the palate. It tasted good, but it was not willing to come out and play. The Voge had lots of gamey, leathery elements, and still some pure black fruit, and was almost but not quite yet ready to drink.

The third flight combined the 2011 Enfield Wine Co. Syrah Haynes Vineyard and the 2005 Lagier Meredith Syrah. In contrast to the 2012 Enfield, the 2011 was happy to see us. It had tons of aromatic depth, with lots of meaty/savory and fruity elements, and the palate was rounding into form. I might still wait another year or two before my last bottles, but there’s no harm in drinking and enjoying it now. The Lagier Meredith started out all grouchy/spiky, but after a few extra minutes of swirling/coaxing in the glass it came together, and presented a very different face. It still has lots of ripe fruit, and maybe needs more cellar time.

The final red flight included the 2004 Lagier Meredith Syrah and 2005 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard. This was a duel of titans. Both wines showed extremely well, with the Lagier Meredith having a richer palate presence, and the Allemand showing more aromatics. Both were very finely balanced, quite long and true pleasures to drink. The Allemand just edged out the 2004 L-M in the final rankings, though the Benetiere trounced everything else.

The overall group assessments of the Syrahs had a tight grouping after the Benetiere, with nothing getting tossed to the side. The two 2012 wines suffered a bit, but both were rather unhappy to be opened.

If I were opening things just to drink with dinner, I would go for the 2004 Lagier Meredith, 2011 Enfield and 2011 Benetiere. And I would have the Massican Annia for an aperitif!
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#2 Post by Ramon C » September 6th, 2019, 11:57 am

That is one heck of a performance by Benetiere, given the heavyweight competition, at least those producers that I've had experiences with.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#3 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 6th, 2019, 12:04 pm

My thoughts exactly.

p.s. I bagged up the reds, and then my wife numbered the bags. So we ended up with some weird pairings.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#4 Post by AlexS » September 6th, 2019, 6:49 pm

Really cool tasting, thx for the notes.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#5 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 9th, 2019, 3:04 pm

p.s. the 2011 Benetiere was still killer the next night. The Jamet had not budged.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#6 Post by David Glasser » September 9th, 2019, 5:28 pm

How long would you wait on the 2012 Jamet, David?

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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#7 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 9th, 2019, 5:36 pm

Not sure, but at least 7 or 8 years.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#8 Post by c fu » September 9th, 2019, 7:07 pm

A year ago my friend brought a 2012 Jamet to dinner and he popped and poured it. I thought it’d be shut down but it was pretty marvelous. Same thing with a 14 Jamet last week.

I feel like either pop and pour or give a ton of air to young Jamet
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#9 Post by Chris Seiber » September 9th, 2019, 7:19 pm

My main takeaway is that you should have had this tasting in 2025 instead of now. Grumpy, grouchy, spiky, not yet ready, needs more cellar time, not ready to come out and play . . .

Eh, sounded like fun anyway. Great notes.

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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#10 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 10th, 2019, 3:33 am

Maybe the 2012s and the 2005 L-M. Everything else gave a lot of pleasure.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#11 Post by Hank Victor » September 10th, 2019, 8:04 am

Great lineup and notes. Cool to see the Massican getting some love. Dan Petroski is a great winemaker.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#12 Post by John Morris » September 10th, 2019, 8:35 am

Great notes, David. A pleasure to read!
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#13 Post by G. Greenbaum » September 12th, 2019, 10:11 am

I'm curious what this indicates for the Benetiere. I learned a while back that 15 yrs was the magic number on Cote Rotie (obviously a generalization), yet I wonder how a wine at 8 yrs of age will perform down the road. Many of the CRs I've loved have a shut down period. Are the 2011s open for other producers? I have no experience with the vintage. Have other vintages of Benetiere remained open for business? Just curious about these new labels I have little to know experience with.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#14 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 12th, 2019, 10:19 am

Good questions Gregg. I have no idea, other than to say that the 2011 Benetiere had plenty of guts to go the distance.
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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#15 Post by Jayson Cohen » September 12th, 2019, 10:58 am

2011 has been a somewhat atypical vintage IME in that numerous wines have always seemed to drink well and never either shut down or gone through a gawky phase. True for Juge, Benetiere, Gonon I’ve had. If more folks chime in, I’m sure we could compile a catalog to see how widespread this phenomena is.

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Re: WTN: Syrah Tasting (Benetiere, Allemand, Lagier Meredith, Enfield, etc.)

#16 Post by Greg K » September 12th, 2019, 11:41 am

Jayson Cohen wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 10:58 am
2011 has been a somewhat atypical vintage IME in that numerous wines have always seemed to drink well and never either shut down or gone through a gawky phase. True for Juge, Benetiere, Gonon I’ve had. If more folks chime in, I’m sure we could compile a catalog to see how widespread this phenomena is.
Interesting. I've had more of this experience from 2012 (albeit sometimes with an hour or two in a decanter).
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