Last week to conclude Zin Week I wrote two articles comparing two very different producers of the same varietal. Four Vines Winery, which was featured on Thursday, made big, jammy, decidedly New World Zinfandels while Friday’s article on Turley Winery focused on their more reserved, classical Zins.
Today and tomorrow I would like to continue on the same theme for Syrah Week. But instead of featuring multiple wines from the same producer each day like I did last week, this week I’d like to talk about one wine from a couple producers for each style. Today’s we’re talking about two big, ripe, New World styled Syrahs, and tomorrow we’ll be exploring two more wines made in the more subtle Old World way.
Wine #1: Calcareous 2006 Paso Robles Syrah
This is not the first time that Calcareous has made an appearance on the site. After I tried a selection of their wines at the Ojai Wine Festival I immediately knew I had to write an article on two of their Rhone blends. If you missed that post be sure to check it out here. I also had the pleasure of trying their wines at a Rhone Rangers event in Santa Monica, where I was introduced the Syrah that we are going to be talking about today.
This is an interesting wine made using fruit from two neighboring vineyards grown in west Paso Robles. The majority of the blend comes from the Rhone based, Killer Canyon Vineyard, which is also sources the fruit for the Syrah produced by Four Vines Winery. The remainder of the blend comes from fruit grown on the Calcareous estate vineyards. The wine spends 15 months in a combination of French, Eastern European, and American oak before bottling.
Very deep, tart cherries and apple tones introduce the nose. Dark volcanic stone notes and a bit of flint play off of dark plums and blackberries. The aroma of this wine is incredibly dark, but manages to be fresh and ripe at the same time. It’s very appealing and inviting.
The palate is soft, ripe and sweet, and enjoyably plush. Very nice spice cake tones appear at the first sip, with butter and cream tones coming through into the mid palate. Dark volcanic stone and ripe tones of plum and mixed berries emerge before notes of exotic wood appear moving into the finish. This is a plush, nicely complex, and loveable wine. It’s very enjoyable and easily…
Worth Trying. 89 points.
Wine #2: Zaca Mesa 2006 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah
Zaca Mesa is a well known and respected winery that has become something of a standard in Rhone varietals and associated with some of the best values on the market. With a selection of varietal Syrahs, a Viognier, a Roussanne, as well as a few GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends, Zaca Mesa has a vast variety of Rhone wines, all priced approachably and marketed on a reasonably large scale.
The grapes for this wine come from Zaca Mesa’s own Santa Barbara vineyard. The wine was aged 16 months in French oak barrels, nearly a third of them new.
The nose of this wine is really creamy, big, and rich. Plum and berry preserves mix with allspice and nutmeg and mocha at the core of the aroma. A good spin in the glass opens up an intriguing earthiness, with a rich soil component and a faint note of cacao nibs.
Instantly rich and smooth, there is a velvety quality to this wine. Mixed berry preserves and spiced, poached plums combine beautifully with a dusting of cacao powder and raspberry jelly candies. Rose wood and a little burnt caramel and nut brittle appear toward the finish, with a very subtle pastoral herbal quality at the very end. This is a very nice wine, with a good, firm tannin structure and a nice combination of New World ripeness and a subtle Old World dustiness. Easily…
Worth Buying. 89 points.
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The Grapevine: What’s your favorite New World-style Syrah?