Saturday, November 6, 2010

Napa Valley Syrah

Napa Valley is not the place that comes immediately to mind when I think of Syrah.  There have been few that I have liked because most tend to be over ripe, over extracted and high in alcohol.  Sadly most leave me with the impression of being light, Syrah syrup. 

On a recent trip through a wine store I noticed the 2003 Burgess Syrah sitting on the shelf at a reduced price.  Burgess is a winery that used to figure more prominently in cellar.  I have notes from years ago on Cabernet  Sauvignons and Zinfandels from this winery.  They seemed to disappear from the local market but recently I am seeing them again.  When I picked up the bottle one important detail caught my eye.  The wine was 13.8% alcohol and not something in excess of 14.5% or 15%. It found its way home with me.

There was red meat from the grill last night so we pulled the cork on the Syrah.  Dark color in the glass and nose gave me that raw meat smell I love in northern Rhone wines.  With a little swirling some dark fruit joined the meaty aromas.  The taste was much the same.  Dark fruit, cherries and black plums followed by meaty aromas that darkened those fruit tastes even more.   The wine seemed to fade just briefly, then finished with just a bit more flavor.  Good acidity and well integrated tannins just added to the appeal of this wine.  This was a good, solid, drinkable wine that reminded me of a Crozes Hermitage.  It wasn't spectacular, it just an honest wine that went well with a meal. 

13.8% alcohol and $20.

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