Friday’s post featured a producer so skilled in their specialty varietal, to simply hear the name Turley, you come to expect exceptional old vine Zinfandel. Today, to kick off the beginning of Syrah Week, I’ve chosen a winery with that same mastery, this time in the art of Syrah.
Today’s article features four Syrahs all by Bridlewood Estate Winery in Santa Ynez. Each of them is a specialty blend making up part of their signature “flavor profile collection”. Instead of emphasizing the appellation or vineyard, these wines focus on blending and the skill of the winemaker in creating a specific thematic style. Each is a blend of Syrah grapes grown throughout the Central Coast. A snippet from Bridlewood’s website describes these wines best in saying:
“The “Winner’s Circle” Flavor Profile Syrahs are designed to show what proper vineyard selection, wine making techniques, and artful blending can do to influence syrah and create distinctive flavor profiles. These wines are harvested by winemaker direction, fermented using a variety of regimes to create a “spice rack” of wines. The resultant wines are then racked to a mixture of French oak barrels that have been selected to enhance specific flavors creating distinctive wine styles. Then the aging, fining, and racking of these wines is lot specific with the final cuvee assembled between 18 and 24 months after harvest.”
These wines are an impressive look at the flexibility and expression that Syrah is capable of bringing to the table. Each one demonstrates a different facet of the varietal. According to the winery’s descriptions of each of these bottles, our first represents Syrah’s elegant side, our second shows it at it at its most delicate and refined, our third portrays an earthy, more European style, and our last displays Syrah at its most masculine. I taste a lot of wine simply for research for articles on the site (without the intention of purchasing them), and I had planned on doing that alone when I entered Bridlewood. Following my tasting and after taking my notes, I walked out of the winery with a bottle of each one of these for my cellar at home. So, without further ado, let’s see what was so special about these wines and what this varietal has to offer.
Wine #1: Bridlewood Winner’s Circle 2006 Central Coast “Blue Roan” Syrah
The aroma is very herbaceous and full of berry tones. There is a combination of juniper and black currant that contributes a woodsy quality to the nose, combined with wet campfire stones, thyme, and just an edge of forest flowers and fresh raspberries on the spin.
Delicate raspberry tones introduce the palate, coupled with black pepper, mixed kitchen spices, and a touch of suede and anise seed. Rosemary and exotic wood play off an herbaceous edge that runs throughout, concluding with a dried citrus peel finish. This is a gentle, silky wine with firm, persistent tannins. It is indeed an elegant blend, with excellent refinement and a continually evolving flavor profile and lingering finish. Very nicely done and easily…
Worth Buying. 91 points.
Wine #2: Bridlewood Winner’s Circle 2006 Central Coast “English Pleasure” Syrah
This wine’s nose is a tangled web of herbs and bergamot mingling with black tea and black pepper. Volcanic stone, honey, and spiced custard combine with red berries at the aroma’s core, with saddle leather and hints of pasture gently showing with a spin in the glass.
Dense and enticing, this wine greets the palate with green bell pepper notes and a dark streak of perfectly ripe blackcurrants and blackberries. Dried berries, leather and just a dusting of white pepper mingle with dark stone and smoke elements into the finish. This is an interesting blend that is actually quite large and mouth filling but restrained and refined at the same time. It’s full bodied but not at all jammy, and instead maintains an Old World, somewhat stoic quality. Impressive and easily…
Worth Buying. 92 points.
Wine #3: Bridlewood Winner’s Circle 2005 Central Coast “Dusty Trails” Syrah
Everything about this wine’s aroma is, as you’d expect from the name, quite dry. Mesquite smoke and cracked black pepper make an instant appearance, followed by dried blackcurrant and blackberry. Hints of vanilla and toast with strawberry jam open up with a spin in the glass, with mixed kitchen spices and faint notes of chocolate lingering on the edges.
Smooth, silky, and bright, this wine is very rich and full with cherry, raspberry, and menthol opening up the palate. Exotic spices and grilled jalapeño move into the mid palate and mingle with a bit of wild honey before introducing this wine’s trademark dustiness. Emerging full of notes of sun baked earth just before the finish, a pleasantly yeasty, warm baguette flavor lingers on the palate long after this wine has gone. A lush, big wine with a nicely balanced amount of earth and tannin, clearly…
Worth Buying. 91 points.
Wine #4: Bridlewood Winner’s Circle 2006 Central Coast “Six Gun” Syrah
The aroma is creamy and full of kitchen spices and buttery tones. A bit of burnt toast and lavender mingle with some very clear chocolate chip cookie dough and fruit and cheese Danish tones on the spin. Not exactly the aroma I was expecting from a wine with a name like “Six Gun,” but absolutely one that is easy to appreciate and enjoy.
This wine is smooth and spicy at once, with black pepper and perfectly ripe blackberry and cherry tones. The mid palate is reminiscent of baked goods and the fruit approaches being jammy. There is a soft nore of suede, and saddle leather mixed with some smoky and a faint flintiness leading into the finish. This is a wonderfully complex wine, with elements of fruit and pastry coming together with leather and rural earthy tones. Beautifully orchestrated and very impressive, this is a wine…
Worth Buying. 92 points.
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The Grapevine: What’s your favorite style of Syrah?