Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
24 posts • Page 1 of 1
I like syrah. If I had to choose one wine to drink for the rest of my days it would be a difficult choice between pinot and syrah. One of the things I really like about both of these varietals is that they can (if vinified correctly) show a great transparency of site (as riesling can do best among whites IMHO). This means that there can be a ton of different styles, and while I have my general preferences toward more old-world, animalistic renditions, I appreciate and embrace this diversity. These four syrahs paint a pretty interesting picture of all ends of the spectrum: Reynvaan on the bigger end, Anthill on the lighter side, and the Rotie somewhere in between. In the style of the Reynvaan, I much preferred the 2009 Gramercy I drank last week. To my tastes, the Gramercy was wild, expressive and well balanced. OTOH, the Reynvaan (Unnamed) was spoofilated and disjointed, though admittedly forward and sexy, sort of like Anne Hathaway in heels. However, the In the Rocks I drank recently seemed better put together. The Anthill, my first syrah from a house whose pinots I adore, was fresh, pure and very pretty. A truly incredible value for $17, and easily the superior of the Reynvaan at 1/3 the cost. The Rotie offers fair value at $35, but I will not be rushing off to get more, though I will save my other bottle for a few years as this seems a bit tightly-wound right now.
2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah The Unnamed - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (3/9/2012)
Shows some similarities to the 2009 Gramercy I finished off last night, though this is comparatively smoother, sweeter and less "sauvage." The nose shows smoked meat, iron, ripe blackberries and a slight green/vegetal/herbal edge. Notes of white pepper, tobacco and cedar accent the core of black fruits. The finish is quite long and smooth, with little apparent tannin. Though full-bodied with a rich, silky mouthfeel, this seems to lack the structure for aging (apparent low acids, probably a bit of residual sugar and low tannins), so I would probably enjoy them in the short-term for their youthful exuberance. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser, but I prefer the racier more animalistic style of the entry-level Gramercy to this wine. NB: I liked this less and less as the evening went on. Trying to be objective I would rate this an 89, but I would put it closer to an 85 to my personal tastes. (89 pts.)
2009 Anthill Farms Syrah Sonoma Coast - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (3/10/2012)
Alluring, and very pretty nose of szechuan pepper, bay leaf, sour cherry, stems and spicebox, with a rather Northern Rhone-like character. Light to medium-bodied, with flavors of cranberry, strawberry, pepper and cigar tobacco. Light on its feet, with plenty of verve and a lengthy finish. I find that I'm really drawn to this style these days, and find this to be a very well-crafted and extremely affordable example of cool climate syrah. 92 points for aromas, 90 for the flavors. (91 pts.)
2009 Rôtie Cellars Northern Blend - USA, Washington (3/11/2012)
Drank over two days and somewhat difficult to evaluate at this point of its evolution, as I suspect this will require a few years to hit its stride. The cofermented viognier gives this a lovely floral lift on the nose to go with the red berry, citrus rind and spicebox flavors. A bit lean and tight on the palate, but the component parts appear to be there, with fresh acidity, medium body, medium tightly-wound tannins, and a fairly long finish. A rather elegant, somewhat feminine expression of syrah which keeps your interest but doesn't really stand out from the crowd. (90 pts.)
2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah In the Rocks - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (3/16/2012)
After being disappointed by my first experience with Reynvaan (a 2009 Unnamed), I decided to try another wine from their stable, which I have found to be better, though still not my style. This has been open for 3 days, showing best on day 2 and 3. Very dark in color, with a beefy, smokey, black fruit heavy nose. A big-boned wine, but unlike the Unnamed, this seemed to have a bit more structure and complexity, and to my tastes at least, was noticeably less spoofy. Has an interesting minty edge to the fruit (especially evident on day 1). Very new world, with a rich mouthfeel and very long resinous finish of blueberries, tar, and earth. This will be very appealing to most people. When in the mood for a bigger New World wine, I would reach for this, though I prefer Gramercy or Carlisle and they are more wallet-friendly as well. (91 pts.)
Last edited by Scott Williams on March 16th 2012, 7:59pm, edited 2 times in total.
Good call on the Anthill Farms SC. It is a steal for the price and a real crowd pleaser... it's a great way to introduce people to more restrained wine styles.
Yes, I have the palate of a peasant....
Scott, I fear I'm starting to agree with you. I have about two cases of Cayuse and Reynvaan wines, and I find myself not looking forward to popping those corks. There's just not enough acid there to make it interesting. I find myself gravitating to cooler CA syrahs and those few WA producers in the same vein.
Have you had a Waters Forgotten Hills? Similar in philosophy to Gramercy. Terrific wine.
GreAt note on the Anthill.
I finished my last bottle of the Anthill Farms SC Friday night and it is a phenomenal buy at $18. I will buy much more next year.
We seem to be drinking similarly this week.
"There must be some kind of way out of here, said the Joker to the thief,
There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief."
Michael, I have never had a Cayuse wine, and though they have legions of admirers, it sounds like they would not be for me. If they are made in a similar style to Reynvaan (I know Chrisophe consults there), then I've probably made the right call. Even Copain's wines from Cailloux and Coccinelle in Walla Walla (subcontracted from Christophe I believe) lack the acid in some of Wells' Mendocino/Yorkville Highlands vineyards. A 2004 I had recently was a real trainwreck although a 2002 was much better. Thanks for the tip on the Waters Forgotten Hills. I will seek this out.
Steve, my wife and I finished off the bottle last night and it was still showing magnificently in my opinion. She did not like it as much as me (she thought it a bit lean, but she much preferred it to the Reynvaan). She's a tough critic though. This reminded me a bit of Chave's Offerus, and also Copain's 2010 Baker Ranch. The latter is one of the best cool climate CA syrahs I've ever had.
Dan, indeed we are. For your reference, I popped a 2009 Rotie Cellars "Northern Blend" last night. Will post a note probably tonight. Also would like to revisit the '06 Alesia Fairview this week, and have an '09 Gramercy Lagniappe in the cue as well...
Waters is a producer well worth seeking out if you like Gramercy. Their style is very similar. I like the Forgotten Hills the best out of their four syrahs, with the Columbia Valley coming in second. (The latter is actually single vineyard, just not designated that way.)
They declassified all of the Forgotten Hills fruit in 2008, 2010, and 2011, so the price has gone up substantially. 2007 was about $36 on release, and the best QPR syrah I've ever had at that price. I bought half a case of the 2009 at $58, and looks like the winery is selling the 2007 now for $65. I might have to reload before it's all gone.
I'll be interested to get your take on Rotie. I really liked the 2008 Northern Blend, much more than the Southern, which was a bit too much like strawberry Kool Aid for my taste. Haven't had any 2009, but have some on the way.
Michael, I updated my OP with a note on the 2009 Rotie, which I finished off last night after opening it on Sunday. I thought it to be a nice wine, with lots of upside potential, and definitely more restrained than the Reynvaan or Gramercy. A bit one-dimensional now, but my guess is that this could use some time. I had heard similar things about the Southern being a bit blowsy, so I've avoided that as well. The Northern was definitely not in that style.
Good to hear that you liked the '07 Waters FH as this can be found at retail much cheaper than the current release '09. I understand the financial pains of declassifying, but that seems like a big price leap between releases, especially for syrah, which we all know nobody buys.
Thanks for the evolution-like notes on these wines - I really appreciate that! These are all such young wines that as you said, it is somewhat difficult to evaluate them without giving them a bunch of time. Heck, my 09's are still in barrel!!!!
I too really dig a good streak of acid in my syrahs - there's a time and a place for a big, mouth coating syrah, but at the end of the day, I want some acid on the back end to boost up the finish and make the wine a bit more food friendly.
Thanks for chiming in Larry. You also reminded me that I've been meaning to check in on some of your '07s. Would you recommend the Larner, Thompson, or Christine for current drinking?
I recently asked the folks @ Reynvann which 2008 Syrah they thought might be ready for enjoyment and they mentioned Unknown as a possibility for an early peek. Could be they would not endorse a 09 for uncorking yet. I have really enjoyed the few Reynvann Syrahs we have tasted. All that being said I don't enjoy the Gramercy style and it sounds like I'll love the 09 Unknown.
"Never lose sight of the fa
Thanks for posting your notes. It is a great reminder why I like this board- different strokes, different palates, different experiences.
I about fell out of my chair when you described a Gramercy as more animalistic in comparison to the Reynvaan. My brain... can't... wait... reread... yep, that's what you said. (!)
I've long maintained Quilceda Creek is the most polarizing winery in WA, with Christophe's wine second. I may have to revisit this and call it a tie, with the Frenchmen looking to take the lead.
A quick glance at CellarTracker show tasters saying the Unnamed is sweet, dry, no tannins, dense tannins, well balanced, no acid, full bodied, savory, spoofilated just to name a few. Some like it, and a few like you don't care for it at all.
Glenn- I had an '09 Contender a few months back. It was lovely with a short decant. I wouldn't hesitate to pop an '08 Unnamed. I have had this wine multiple times and it has never been close to closed down at any point for me. Give it a go!
Try the 2009 Gonon St. Joseph. I think you can sell your Cayuse and buy this French syrah beauty for a ratio of about 3 or 4:1.
Michael, I don't think they declassified the fruit....I don't think they got any fruit from that vineyard. There were major freezes that killed the crops for '08, '10, and '11. Down along JB George road (Where Waters, Pepper Bridge, Saviah, etc are at) is VERY susceptable to freezes.
ITB - West Hills Wine Logistics
One other WA recommendation would be Rasa. They're more modern in style, but they make very balanced wines, not overly ripe or overly oaked. I like them quite a bit when I'm after something a little less wild, but still with the gamey, briny syrah notes.
In 2008 and 2011, there wasn't any Forgotten Hills. Its one of the coldest spots in the entire valley, as the cold air running off the Blue Mts sits right at the vineyard. Its a nail biter even in the perfect conditions. An example to understand the difference - Les Collines is about a 1/2 mile as the crow flies from Forgotten Hills. Les Collines is at the base of the Blue Mts. We typically harvest Les Collines Syrah somewhere around the last week of September. Its not unusual to pick Forgotten Hills Syrah the last week of October.
In 2009 and 2010, we declassified Forgotten Hills to Substance, though the blend includes many vineyards. As of 2008, we are not involved in wine making for Substance.
On a side note post harvest. We feel that 2011 could be our absolute best in terms of Rhone varietals. It was a truly Old World vintage in the fact that we had flavor ripeness well before physical ripeness. There were blocks we could have picked sub 21 Brix. We didn't, opting for extended hang time. There was little fear of runaway alcohols. 2010 is also a very good Rhone varietal vintage, though the wines will require substantial patience. Interestingly, I have tasted more than a few low acid wines from 2010. Diligence was necessary, even in this very cool vintage, to pick before acids fell through the floor. We saw this in many vineyards. It was a crazy one, but a prep for 2011.
Thanks for chiming in, Greg!
But Waters did make a Forgotten Hills in 2009, so presumably some of it was high quality. I have six of 'em coming, so I hope so!
By "we" do you mean Gramercy, or you and Jamie Brown? I always enjoyed those wines, hope this doesn't signal a change for the worse.
Thanks for the perspective; I look forward to trying both.
So although I stand by my original statement that the Reynvaan Unnamed was spoofy, I went back to the well and opened an In the Rocks a few nights ago, and have spent the past few evenings with what I believe to be the prettier sister. Though still not my favorite style, and clearly a New World wine, the In the Rocks seemed to have a better make-up, and may actually turn into something interesting when the fruit settles down a bit. Still not a convert, but I can now see why many would find these wines appealing. TN posted in the OP.
Updating this thread with some recent bottles.
I had ordered the Anthill SC and Campbell after reading about them here.
In the mean time my wife and I were out to dinner the other night and by chance (with help from CT on cell phone) ordered a bottle of Wind Gap Syrah.
The Wind Gap has an incredible nose and smelled like a perfect Syrah. It was much more restrained on the palate which was somewhat of a let down after whiffing it but still was very enjoyable in its own right.
I wouldn't mind trying this again.
The next day I opened the Anthill SC so we could compare to the previous night. Nose was very weak and on the palate it was bigger but not nearly as elegant as the Wind Gap.
What I could not get around was the tart sour taste of this wine. It completely overwhelmed any of the syrah qualities for me. I drank this over a four hour period and it not improve with time in the glass.
Of course at $35 the Wind Gap is $15 more than Anthill but I much prefer it.
What would be even better for me would be Wind Gap with a little more oomph on the palate.
I am used to Central Coast syrahs but it has been a while since I had one so would be hard make a comparison.
Update to my update.
After sitting on the counter for a few days this has improved greatly.
If it was like this at the start I would be more enthused but not motivated to buy again.
But I am appreciating the style more.
I wonder if I should open the Anthill Campbell a few days in advance now.
24 posts • Page 1 of 1