Friday, March 7, 2008

Our 2007 Syrahs

We recently tasted from the barrels of both Syrahs from the 2007 vintage. The Alder Springs Syrah has been in the barrel about 4 months while the White Hawk Syrah has been in the barrel about 3 ½ months. Both have a solid year to go before being bottled so they are young, tannic, and tight.

We want our wine to pair with food, yet remain drinkable alone if called upon. We tasted both alone at first and then with several dishes over a few days. We are impressed with where they are today and we determined that they got better (more aromatic, more flavorful) over the days as they opened up. In other words, decanting on day 1 would have been ideal, although the wines might not have lasted for four days that way.

It's tough work doing the tasting and identifying flavors, but we feel really strongly about experiencing firsthand the evolution of any Purple Teeth Cellars wine. The Food & Wine pairing class that we took in 2007 was a huge help in assisting us in breaking down how you approach all of this. We each tasted on our own and wrote down individual notes before comparing what we thought of each wine. There were slight variations between our notes, but in general they were extremely similar.

White Hawk (Santa Barbara County)

This one has slightly deeper colors although they are both in that deep purple range which bodes well for staining of teeth. We got hints of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, black pepper, nutmeg or vanilla, and broccoli on the nose. It is full bodied with high tannins that are still hard which is to be expected at this stage in the barrel.

On its own, there are flavors of black pepper, blackberries, cranberries, tomato, and nutmeg. Over a few days, this wine really opened up and was the more drinkable without food. We are really excited about this one.

We tasted with our Ultimate Lasagna, which is a tomato based, spicy lasagna that has ground turkey and lamb in it [the meat changes often when we make it]. The wine showed more fruit on the palate and the spices/peppers in the wine were not overpowered by the red pepper flakes in the lasagna. In fact, it tasted even better with the food.

We also tasted with baked chicken rubbed with Dukkah (mix of seeds & spices that is from Middle East) that we obtained in Hawaii so it has macadamia nuts added to the blend. The finish was shorter, the tannins were reduced, and the wine barely showed through. The side of green beans with basil & garlic were a nice addition.

Finally, we tasted with grilled teriyaki chicken and a side of broccoli with basil & garlic. Wow! The wine opened up after a few days and just really paired up with this dish. We cannot wait for it to age.

Alder Springs (Mendocino County)

This one is earthier on the nose with hints of blackberry, wood, black olives, smoke, & perhaps some cinnamon or cloves. On its own, there are flavors of white pepper, allspice, black fruits, and is vegetal/green. This wine is more tannic and tight right now.

With the lasagna, it tastes similar to how it tastes without the food. The little pepper that can be detected goes away, there is a little more fruit to taste, and it is still earthy but fairly tannic.

With the baked chicken, we found the wine is on the astringent side and is tart, but the fruit comes through better and the earthiness dissipates. The side of green beans with basil & garlic matched well with the aromas of the wine.

This wine seems more age-worthy right now, but the year is early and the wines have much time left in the barrel. We will see how things look in a few months.

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Please stay tuned for our tasting notes for the 2006 Petite Sirah from the Purple Teeth Cellars! Check back in another week.

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