Syrah, shiraz and off-theme wines at Mo'Cool 2009 picnic - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 08-24-2009

Food was fabulous. With syrah and shiraz as the theme, the chefs prepared roasted Moroccan-style leg of lamb, a goat curry, and umpteen appetizers including a variation of the popular one last year with prosciutto, fig and goat cheese. There were two huge bowls of guacomole--one mild and one spicy--with varicolored tortilla chips. I believe there was a duck confit and also a cheese plate with Manchego, Cheddar, Comte, etc.

I took the 2006 Babcock Nook and Cranny Syrah (about which I already posted), the 2006 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah Block Six, Santa Ynez Valley, CA and a 2003 Dog Ridge Vineyard MVP Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia.

The Beckmen Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah Block Six was listed as 15.2% alcohol (compared to 13.6 for the Babcock Nook and Cranny.) 550 cases produced; 100% Syrah, recommended drinking window is 2013-2016. Grapes are 100% estate-grown. Block Six sits at the top of Purisima reaching up to 1200 feet...a steep limestone-laden hillside planted with clones 174, 373 and Estrella selection. While I liked this, I prefered the Babcock easily. I paid $49.48 which is just pennies less than for the Babcock.

The Dog Ridge MVP Shiraz is their top of the line. Dave Wright oversees the vines and Fred Howard the wines. This is made from the four best barrels of the 2003 vintage. They use modern sustainable viticultural practices in the foothills of McLaren Vale. Dark red color; almost opaque. Balanced and smooth. High-toned fruit. Blueberries and mocha contribute to the flavors. The wine is only imported by a couple companies and is not well known in the USA so I noticed that the bottle was not getting many tasters.

Others I tried: 1997? Lagier-Meredith Syrah, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley (nice, smooth, at its peak); 2002 Dehlinger Goldridge Vineyard Syrah, 1985 Pierre Barge Cote Rotie (red rust color, slight earthiness, I liked this); 1998 Jamet Cote Rotie (some maturity showed but drinking well; magenta color); 1999 Ogier La Rosine (very smooth and polished, pretty scarlet color, one of my favorites); a Delas Crozes Hermitage (didn't note the vintage); 1989 Edmunds St. John Sonoma Valley Syrah (12.5% alcohol, mature coloring, fine sediment, appealing flavor, maybe less robust than on release but still capable of delivering pleasure); 1992 and 1994 Elderton Command Shiraz (both good; slightly prefered the 1992; Mike Brinton bought the 1994 at a bin-end sale for $25 a bottle); a Pax Syrah and a Copain Syrah (didn't get specifics); 1997 Dehlinger Syrah Sonoma (I prefered this to the 2002 Dehlinger); a Rosemount Balmoral Syrah (near the bottom of the bottle and I got some sediment so couldn't really judge.)

Two more that impressed me:

1997 Glen Fiona Syrah, Walla Walla, WA (may have been one of only two Washington State entries) Viscous, dark crimson color, dense and opaque. Dark raspberry on nose and palate. Very mellow. Not terribly complex but enjoyable and food friendly. I had some with the lamb.

2007 Russell Ranch Syrah, Michigan (grapes sourced from elsewhere). Jim Lester, the winemaker, is very talented. Crimson to purple shading; semi-opaque. Lovely nose. Dark and red berry mix on the palate. A touch of blueberry flavor but subtle enough to enhance, not dominate. Pepper appears on the finish. Would probably be terrific with the Moroccan-spiced leg of lamb but was opened before the lamb was served. Lengthy finish. A favorite of mine at the picnic.

Some off-theme wines tasted:

2001 J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese (tasted young and fresh)

2006 Sol et Soleil Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley Cuvee

Howie Hart's homemade Steuben Rose' Blush peach to pale coral color. Tastes slightly sweet with strawberry to peach flavors. Very nice. A successful effort.