Red - Syrah and Petite Sirah
2014 Shypoke Petite Sirah Amelia’s Block Napa Valley California USA$42
Shypoke calls the Calistoga AVA home. Their dirt to bottle history began in 1904, when Peter Heitz’ great grandparents immigrated from Alsace and literally planted roots. Named after their daughter, Amelia Heitz, who helps craft the 2014 Shypoke Petite Sirah, Amelia’s Block. In the vineyard, she helps her grandfather “Nonno” tend to the vines. Opaque & rich in color. Aromas and flavors of ripe huckleberry, boysenberry and brown sugar. Magnificently judged ripeness, seemingly on the cusp of end-season richness, yet still married to early season freshness. Remarkable.
Andrew Murray Roasted Slope 2015, Santa Inez Valley, CA$44
25 years ago, when Andrew Murray began his wine journey, Viognier was his muse. It was a vineyard nursery’s mistake that sent him down the Syrah path. That original vineyard block that was established, simply known as block 17, was planted as Viognier and cared for as Viognier for the first 3 years of its life. It was not until its first fall with grapes hanging heavy on the vine did we notice a few clusters turning red. At first it was in denial, thinking that we had planted a few Syrah vines among the Viognier. I was soon to find out, that we actually had clearly planted mostly Syrah with just a few Viognier vines. Rather than pout about it, they decided to begin to co-ferment the two grapes together, just like they do in the famed Northern Rhône appellation of Côte Rôtie. They decided to name this new wine Roasted Slope (a direct and literal translation of Côte Rôtie). Fans and critics alike fell in love with this wine, and it was always the most sought after wine each vintage. They have not produced this wine since 2005, but now have released the new and improved Roasted Slope, a blend of co-fermented Syrah and Viognier, all from three vineyard blocks along Alisos Canyon Road. 600 Cases Produced
Bonny Doon Cigare du Volant 2012$55
Starting in late 1954 people throughout France began reporting UFO sightings. The sightings were popularized by heavy media attention, and became a concern for the citizens of France. The most common shape of the crafts reported were cigar shaped, called “Cigare Volant.” The people of Chateauneuf du Pape were so concerned by the sightings and the effects the UFOs may have on their wine, that the mayor banned the UFOs from landing in their vineyards. Tipping his hat to this story and the famous wine, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards named his Chateauneuf style wine Le Cigare Volant. The Bonny Doon Cigare du Volant 2012 is a beautiful wine – dark, mulberry color, and a first nose of dark, cool loamy earth with suggestions of raspberries, Damson plums and cherry/chocolatedance on the palate. It is sleek and racy with a lively acidity, very soft tannins and great persistence. This is a wine from an extremely cool and elegant vintage, and by all experience, should be a great prospect for very long aging and development. “Exceptional” – Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences | “The classic Rhone-ish expression of Randall Grahm's fascination with wines of personality, the blend here is 35% Mourvedre (for its blueberry fruit), 34% Grenache (for cherry and peppery notes), 20% Syah and 9% Cinsaults. I have tasted many older versions of this wine and this one is set up to age a long time.” | July 9, 2015. 93 Points – Wine Enthusiast.
Capo Creek Syrah 2016$39
Sit back and inhale the Capo Creek Syrah 2016! Beautiful notes of red fruits, cassis, and baking spices. Just in time to pair with cool nights so throw a log on the fire and enjoy! Medium weight and light on its feet, this wine is all about verve and spice. The fruit is soft and delicate, and takes a back seat to the umami-filled, mineral-driven, savory Syrah flavors. Very exotic and intriguing with a haunting quality to it…very special stuff!
Carol Shelton Petite Sirah 2013, Florence Vineyard, Dry Creek, Sonoma County, CA, USA$39
After graduating from UC Davis, Carol Shelton worked at renowned cellars and with industry giants like Andre Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi. In 1981, Carol began working at mid-sized winery in Sonoma County. During her 19-year stint as winemaker with this winery, Carol had the opportunity to bottle 45 different wines each year, ranging from sparkling to port. In 2000 Carol and her husband Mitch Mackenzie, a former software engineer, launched their own brand – Carol Shelton Wines. When you're talking about big flavor, Carol Shelton's wines always come to mind. The Carol Shelton Petite Sirah 2013, Florence Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley is inky blue-purple in color with sweet black razzberry jammy fruit—yum! Dark chocolaty oak spice, bright acidity but very juicy-supple, bit of warm vanilla at finish, structured tannins for aging. 97% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel 97% Florence Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley 8% Florence Vineyard, Rockpile. 368 cases produced.
Carol Shelton Petite Sirah 2013, Rockpile Reserve, Sonoma County, California, USA$39
Passionate purple in color, lively black peppery spice on perfumey blue-blackberry fruit along with Cedary oak spice, dusty cocoa, warm vanilla creme at finish, structured tannins for aging.
Collier Falls Petite Sirah 2014, Dry Creek$39
This elegant Petite Sirah displays a dark purple color with aromas of blueberry and plum. On the palate the wine shows complex layers of dark fruit with hints of white pepper spice. Soft tannins and a touch of toasty oak create a wonderful mouthfeel and a silky finish. 82 cases produced.
Columbia Valley Duo$58
In Latin, the name for the Ex Umbris Syrah is a reference of truth emerging “from the shade” or “from the dark,” and it was first released from a vintage influenced by hillside fires near Owen Roe’s vineyard sources in Washington. The residual ash and smoke resonated in the Syrah grapes, creating a very memorable wine. Year after year, they are asked to develop a Syrah to keep the story of this wine alive! The residual ash and smoke resonated in the Syrah grapes, creating a very memorable wine. Year after year, they are asked to develop a Syrah to keep the story of this wine alive!
Long ago, during the 17th century, the O’Neills and O’Reillys were two revolutionary Irish families. They formed a rowing competition to reserve rights to some highly regarded land. The two rowing teams agreed that the first to touch the land, after rowing across the lake, would become ruler of the land. O’Neill’s boat was falling behind so a member of the crew grabbed his own sword, cut off his hand and threw it ashore, winning the title to rule the land. This land still remains in the family. This generous fusion in the Owen Roe Sinister Hand 2015 of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault is easily approachable while displaying undeniable complexity. The Grenache portion of the blend contributes cranberry and raspberry candied fruit notes, while the Syrah delivers darker fruits and savoury characteristics. Mourvedre enhances the structure and richness of the body and provides delicate aromas of violets. The partially carbonic macerated Cinsault brings liveliness and tropical fruit flavors to the blend.
Corvidae Lenore Syrah 2016, Columbia Valley$14
Corvidae is the Latin name for the family of birds that includes the Crow, Raven, Jay and Magpie. These “dark” birds are everywhere in the vineyards of Eastern Washington. Their reputation as crafty, adaptable, and somewhat dubious characters is a fitting icon for the suspiciously terrific value wines from this region. The geology and climate here yields rich, complex fruit, with luscious fragrance and bright acidity. Sourced from several vineyards throughout the Yakima Valley and the Horse Heaven Hills, the Lenore Syrah is powerful and intensely concentrated. The hillside vines in Yakima contribute fragrance, texture, and purity of fruit flavors. The depth of flavor belies the paltry price-point. Pair this crowd pleasing wine with barbecued babyback ribs, a hearty lamb stew or your favorite burger. Of course she’s a beauty on her own as well.
Foxen Cuvee Jeanne Marie 2013, Santa Ynez Valley$48
Bill Wathen and Dick Doré have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Winery & Vineyard at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in Northern Santa Barbara County. Since that time their dedication has remained the same: the creation of small production, sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a straightforward and minimalist approach to winemaking. The winery is named in memory of William Benjamin Foxen, and English sea captain and Dick’s great-great grandfather. Benjamin Foxen came to Santa Barbara in the early 1800’s and purchased the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in 1837 with a Mexican Land Grant that totaled nearly 9000 acres. Foxen’s 2013 Cuvée Jeanne Marie Williamson-Doré Vineyard, a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend is open, pliant and, not surprisingly, quite a bit more expressive than the Syrahs. Sweet red cherry, kirsch, hard candy and wild flowers abound in a wine that should drink well pretty much upon release. 91 Points – Wine Enthusiast 200 cases produced.
Lasseter Family Winery Chemin de Fer Red Blend 2014, Sonoma Valley California USA$46
Nancy and John Lasseter first met at a computer graphics conference in San Francisco in 1985. They shared a love of storytelling, and soon discovered they both loved wine as well. Each was already in a brown bag tasting group – John at Pixar, and Nancy at Apple. In pursuit of this mutual passion, they would often escape to Wine Country for romantic getaways, and they chose bountiful Sonoma County for their honeymoon. In the early ‘90’s they sought to put down roots in a small town where they could raise their five children, and it followed naturally that Sonoma Valley would become their home. The, shortly after establishing themselves in the community, they caught the winemaking bug. Driven by their devotion to wine, they quickly got to work on what would soon become a fruitful new venture. By 1997 they were bottling up their own Bordeaux blend to give out as Christmas gifts, and soon enough, the Lasseter Family Winery was born.
The Chemin de Fer red blend is made in the Southern Rhône style with a focus on Grenache. Fruit forward and food friendly, this wine evokes memories of the Lasseters’ relaxing train travel through France and the old world blends enjoyed on their journeys.
Madrigal Petite Sirah 2014, Napa Valley$34
Inky black-blue color precedes perfumed aromas of cassis, espresso, and dark chocolate. Intense dark currant, blackberry, and plush plum flavors initially fill the palate. This heady, explosive wine then finishes long with BBQ rub spices, sweet toasted oak, and round tannins. Pairs spectacularly with grilled meat, sausage, pizza (and anything with savory red sauce), and robust hard chesses like Parmesan, Pecorino, Romano, Sharp Cheddar, Emmental and Manchego.