“Syrah is for when your palate grows up.”
That statement does sound a bit snobbish; however during a long run the other day, I found a certain amount of wisdom in it.
Early in my red wine appreciation, like many wine lovers, I was definitely all about the boisterous Cabernet Sauvignon and oaky Zinfandels, with maybe a meaty Merlot thrown in for good measure. However at some point my palate began to pick up on the nuances and layers that allowed me to appreciate the elegant boldness of Syrah and Rhone Blends.
My Syrah-epiphany took place at Bedford Village Inn (Bedford, NH) when my wife and I had the good fortune to enjoy one of the single greatest bottles of wine I’ve ever had, a 2005 Guigal ‘Ex Voto’ Hermitage. From that sublime moment on, my palate no longer simply appreciated Syrah, it began to lust for it. I wanted to recapture that majestic, sensual moment.
Since then Bacchus has smiled upon me as I’ve had some truly breathtaking experiences with my favorite grape; however on only one other occasion has a wine given me goose bumps. Here’s my list of Syrahs/Rhone Blends that have put up a valiant effort and are all terrific examples of what this complex grape can produce.
Top 10 Recent Syrahs
- 2005 Penfolds Grange – 100 pts
- 2005 Guigal, Ex Voto – 98 pts
- 2009 Donelan, Obsidian Vibneyard – 97 pts
- 2007 Clos des Papes – 97 pts
- 2005 Penfolds, St.Henri – 97 pts
- 2006 Pax, Richards Family Vineyard – 96 pts
- 2006 Émigré – 95 pts
- 2007 Pride – 95 pts
- 2009 Chateau de Saint Cosme – 95 pts
- 2006 Penfolds, St.Henri – 95 pts
Top 5 Vintage Syrahs
- 1996 Penfolds, Grange – 98 pts
- 1997 Penfolds, Grange – 96 pts
- 1998 Domaine du Pegau, Reservee – 95 pts
- 1999 Penfolds, St.Henri – 95 pts
- 1998 Chateau de Beaucastel – 95 pts
Have your say…What’s your favorite Syrah experience?