Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2007 Syrahs – Almost in the Bottle

It has been almost a year since we publicly talked about our 2007 vintage Syrah offerings, although we did briefly update everyone in August with a mini-progress report. Both Syrahs are only weeks from being bottled so we tasted them both with a few new meals recently (links to recipes) to give you an idea of what to expect.

Alder Springs Syrah (Mendocino County)

This wine has stronger aromatics: we sense the black fruits particularly blackberry and black currant. As we taste this wine, there is confirmation of black fruit and prunes with some underlying oak support. Our conclusion is that the wine is more 'classic' than the White Hawk Syrah with subtle fruit, a great finish, and will pair with many dishes.

In the first pairing of Roast Chicken with Pancetta, the wine was a mellow companion that showed its fruit while it let the red pepper and garlic from the food really shine. With the Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Herbs, the black fruit came out to the forefront. There is some vanilla, cinnamon and possibly thyme but still no pepper. Our conclusion is that this Syrah is a versatile pairing for many meals although it probably paired slightly better with the lamb shanks. Jill really likes this one because it is more subtle, more nuanced, and less in your face.

White Hawk Syrah (Santa Barbara County)

This is still slightly deeper purple in color. We get some pepper, raspberry, blackberry, currant and allspice aromas. Although not as powerful on the nose as the Alder Springs Syrah, the diversity of aromas on this wine was striking. This is a jammy Syrah that tastes of black pepper, thyme, blackberry, cloves. Before we dove into any food, we concluded that there is a lot of flavor going on particularly when it comes to pepper and spice; we love the long finish.

In the first pairing of Roast Chicken with Pancetta, the peppers and jam are still there along with some blueberry and a wonderful smokiness really comes out. The finish just goes on and on. In the second pairing of Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Herbs, more of the herbs and spices in the wine are detectable and there are definitely blueberry notes. The smokiness is less noticeable than with the chicken. The chicken seems like the better pairing but either dish works well here. Marc really likes this one because it is more in your face.


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