Thursday, November 15, 2012

Phoenix Ranch Syrah

When it comes to Syrah based wines I have my preferences and Napa Valley Syrahs aren't usually one of them.  They tend to be high in alcohol and extract and difficult to drink in anything more than a small dose.  Well, here's a pleasant surprise, a 2006 Phoenix Ranch, Napa Valley Syrah.

The wine was a medium, dark color in the glass and not black as midnight.  There was dark and rich fruit in the nose, but there was also some earthy aromas of dirt and dust.  A few more swirls and one could pick up a slight smell of raw meat.  Definitely not a Napa nose here, this one was more northern Rhone.  Beautiful ripe fruit in the taste that did not taste like jam or preserves, it was fresh and tart and alive.  Great tannins and acid in this wine and a dryness and earthiness on the finish. While I would never mistake this wine for a northern Rhone, it definitely was using that style of wine as its model.  There was fullness and restraint, and this wine made me very happy.

Absolutely perfect with a prime strip steak from the grill and some baked Delicato squash seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg and butter.

With a little research the restraint shown in this wine made some sense.  The wine maker for that vintage of Phoenix Ranch was Cathy Corison of Napa's Corison Winery.  She makes some of the most restrained and tasty cabernet sauvignons in Napa.  Phoenix Ranch is also a major supplier of grapes for Failla wines, a cultish pinot noir and syrah producer.  Happily for me there are two more in the cellar.

2006 Phoenix Ranch, Napa Valley Syrah.  13.9% alcohol and $30.

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