TN: Some Calif Syrahs...(long/boring)

Posted by: TomHill

TN: Some Calif Syrahs...(long/boring) - 05-08-2019 10:58:09

We tasted last week (5/1/19) Some Syrahs:
1. Emmanuel Darnaud AC: Crozes-Hermitage (13%) LaRoche de Glun 2016: Med.dark color; strong blackberry/
blueberry/Syrah light smokey/roasted/rather Rhonish bit w-c/peppery quite attractive nose; quite tart/
tangy some blueberry/Syrah/blackberry rather roasted/Rhonish/espresso/smokey light earthy flavor w/
light tangy tannins; long some w-c/peppery modest blueberry/blackberry/Syrah bit roasted/Rhonish
finish w/ light tannins; a rather pleasant quiet/low-key NRhone Syrah. $30.00 (AV)
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2. Arnot-Roberts Syrah SonomaCoast (12.7%) 2017: Very dark color; some blackberr/Syrah some w-c/peppery
slight Rhonish/roasted bit c-c/black pepper fairly attractive nose; very tart/acid/sour/screechy some
blackberry/blueberry/Syrah bit w-c/peppery bit earthy flavor w/ light grippy/screechy tannins; long very
screechy/tart/acidic some blueberry/Syrah bit Rhonish/w-c/peppery slight earthy finish w/ light gritty
tannins; a rather attractive somewhat Rhonish nose but very screechy/hurtey on the palate; perhaps age
will help this wine but hurts to drink it now. $40.00
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3. Arnot-Roberts Syrah ClaryRanch/SonomaCoast (11.9%; 10 brls; 100% w-c frmt) 2017: Very dark color; light
blueberry/blackberry/Syrah strong w-c/peppery/smokey/bit Rhonish slight c-c/black pepper bit complex
nose; very tart/acidic strong w-c/Rhonish/peppery some blackberry/blueberry/Syrah slight c-c/black pepper
bit complex flavor w/ ample hard/gritty tannins; very long quite tart/acidic some blueberry/blackberry/
Syrah/bit spicy strong w-c/peppery/bit Rhonish finish w/ ample hard/astringent tannins; bit richer & more
intense Syrah fruit but still quite lean/acidic on the palate; expensive to drink a wine that hurts so much.
$60.00
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4. Arnot-Roberts Syrah QueSyrahVnyd/SonomaCoast (12.7%; 4 brls; 100% w-c frmt) 2017: Very dark color; very
strong c-c/black pepper some w-c/Rhonish/peppery/smokey light blackberry/Syrah/bit spicy slight earthy
some complex nose; bit richer strong c-c/black pepper bit w-c/Rhonish/smokey strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy
rather acidic/tangy/tart bit complex flavor w/ ample tangy/chewey tannins; very long quite acidic/lean/hard
strong c-c/black pepper some w-c/Rhonish fairly strong blackberry/spicy/Syrah slight earthy finish w/ ample
hard tannins; best of the A-R Syrahs and very attractive nose but still pretty painful to drink; pricey for
what it is. $70.00
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5. Jaffurs Syrah LarnerVnyd/SBC (15.4%) 2013: Very dark/near black color; very intense blackberry/boysenberry/
Syrah/licorice/bit peppery/pungent some pungent/smokey/toasty/Fr.oak rather complex bit alcoholic classic SBC
Syrah nose; slight fumey/alcoholic very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/licoric/very spicy/bit peppery
strong toasty/smokey/oak some complex flavor w/ modest grippy tannins; very long/lingering bit alcoholic bit
soft/rich/lush strong blackberry/Syrah/very spicy some smokey/toasty/oak fairly complex finish w/ some tannins;
a rather classic old-time Jaffurs Syrah that should go another 4-6 yrs at least, SBC Syrah at its best.
$42.60 (futures)
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6. Jaffurs Syrah LarnerVnyd/BallardCnyn (14.3%; 8 brls) 2016: Very dark color; fairly strong blackberry/Syrah/less
ripe light peppery/spicy light toasty/oak nose; lightly tart strong blackberry/Syrah/bit spicy/peppery lighter/
smoother/balanced light toasty/oak flavor w/ light gentle tannins; very long fairly strong blackberry/Syrah/very
spicy light toasty/oak bit complex finish w/ light smooth tannins; somewhat lighterr more balanced/smoother/
polished Syrah than the '13; a lovely SBC Syrah. $37.50 (futures)
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7. Jaffurs Syrah KimseyVnyd/SBC (14.5%) 2013: Very dark/near black color; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/
very spicy/bit peppery light toasty/smokey/oak less ripe than the Larner lovely complex nose; bit soft rich/lush
quite spicy/blackberry/Syrah slight toasty/oak bit leaner flavor w/ modest smooth tannins; very long/lingering
quite spicy/blackberry/Syrah/bit peppery light smokey/toasty/oak finish w/ some smooth tannins; more spicy &
less ripe & bit more restrained than the Larner; a lovely fully-mature SBC Syrah. $42.60 (futures)
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8. Jaffurs Syrah KimseyVnyd/BallardCnyn (14.5%; 8 brls) 2016: Dark color; bit more restrained/elegant very spicy
strong blackberry/Syrah slight alcoholic/fumey light toasty/pencilly/oak very attractive nose; lightly tart
fairly smooth/round/polished/balanced quite spicy/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak bit complex flavor w/ light
bitey tannins; very long/lingering balanced strong blackberry/Syrah/very spicy light toasty/oak bit complex
finish w/ light tannins; more balanced & restrained than the '13; not the dramatic differences in these two
than the Larners. $37.50 (futures)
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9. LimerickLane Syrah Headpruned Block EG/RRV/SC (14.0%) 2011: Very dark color; strong blackberry/Syrah/
ripe slight mousey/hantavirus/burning steel wool rather hot/alcoholic rather disjointed not very
attractive nose; soft rather blackberry/Syrah rather pungent/burning metal bit alcoholic some toasty/
oak flavor w/ light bitey but drying tannins; long slight funky/hantavirus/burning metal/pungent some
ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah bit alcoholic finish w/ light slightly drying tannins; seems to be a
bit funky and slightly off. $36.00
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10. LimerickLane Syrah Headpruned Block EG/RRV/SC (14.5%) 2015: Very dark/near black color; bit alcoholic
rather strong burnt/charred/Fr.oak bit reductive/pungent rather ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/bit
licorice slight funky/hantavirus not very attractive nose; soft bit funky/pungent/reductive strong
charred/toasty/Fr.oak strong blackberry/Syrah/ripe/bit licorice slight peppery flavor w/ modest ripe
tannins; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/bit spicy/peppery slight funky/reductive strong
charred/oak slight alcoholic finish w/ some ripe/round tannins; loads of extraction & plenty of Syrah
fruit but showing some funky character. $50.00
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11. LimerickLane Syrah HeadprunedBlock EG/RRV/SC (14.4%; 4 brls; Drk: 1-15 yrs: JB) 2016: Very dark/near
black color; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/Syrah some toasty/Fr.oak slight reductive/burning
steel wool/pungent bit perfumed nose; bit soft rather spicy/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry slight tangy/
metallic/burning steel wool light earthy slight peppery flavor w/ light ripe/bitey tannins; very long
strong blackberry/Syrah/ripe/bit spicy/peppery some toasty/oak slight pungent/metallic/reductive finish
w/ light ripe tannins; plenty of ripe Syrah fruit bit a bit of reductive character showing. $60.00
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12. LimerickLane Syrah HeadprunedBlock (13.8%) 2017: Med.dark color; more spicy less ripe strong blackberry/
blueberry/Syrah/bit peppery slight metallic lighter/leaner nose; soft less ripe strong blackberry/
blueberry/Syrah light toasty/oak slight metallic/tangy/peppery flavor w/ light ripe/gentle tannins; very
long/lingering strong blackberry/blueberry/spicy/Syrah slight peppery finish w/ modest ripe tannins; more
spicy & less ripe Syrah w/ a slight metallic/tangy character; more what I'd expect of a LL Syrah. $60.00
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12a. LimerickLane EstateBlend RRV/SonomaCnty (73% Syrah/25% Zin/2% PS; 14.8%; www.LimerickLaneWines.com)
Healdsburg 2017
: Very dark/near black color; very strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/ripe fairly spicy
some toasty/oak classic LL ripe nose; lightly tart strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/spicy bit dusty/OV
rather toasty/oak ripe flavor w/ ample hard tannins; very long/lingering ripe/blackberry/boysenberry/
Syrah/black cherry cola some dusty/OV slight earthy some toasty/oak finish w/ ample hard/gritty tannins;
needs 4-10 yrs yet; no signs of reduction or other problems the other LL's showed. $45.00
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13. SineQuaNon ElevenConfessions TheInagural Estate Syrah Sta.RitaHills (15.8%; 3% Viognier) 2003: Very dark/
near black color; very strong burnt/charred/Fr.oak slight reductive some alcoholic strong blackberry/
boysenberry/very ripe huge fruit nose; soft intense blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry/very ripe intense burnt/
charred/Fr.oak/toasty huge fruit/primary flavor w/ light smooth tannins; very long/lingering intense
blackberry/boysenberry/very ripe Syrah very strong chared/burnt/oak finish w/ light smooth tannins; huge
primary Syrah fruit & a tone of charred oak but no complexity or signs of evolution; easily go another 10-15
yrs. $177.00
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More irkswiddle from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. SQN: Pretty classic example of an older SQN & Alban Syrah. Still loads of primary fruit but no signs of
evolution. Still, I liked this Syrah quite a lot for what it is.
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2. LimerickLane: I was rather disappointed in these LL Syrahs. They did not seem to be evolving as well as I'd
expected. They all showed varying degrees of funky character that I suspect may be a reductive issue. These
were all PoP and given no breathing time. They were left on the sideboard overnight, with not much improvement.
I suspect they would have shown better had I decanted them several hrs afore. But now we'll never know.
I opened the EstateBlend a few days later to try and it was more like the character I would expect from a
LL Syrah. Again, just PoP.
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3. A-R: I like Duncan & Nathan quite a lot, but I don't always understand their wines. The whites I like a lot,
the reds I'm less enamored by. The A-R wines are darlings of the IPoB crowd because of their lesser alcohols.
But many of their wines I would not called "balanced". Perhaps age will bring them into balance, I'm not sure.
The QueSyrah vnyd was planted by AlRago (with whom I worked up at ArgonneNatlLab in 1965) in the '80's. It
is one of the coldest Syrah vnyds in Calif and one of Calif's great Syrah vnyds. The first Syrahs from QS vnyd
were made by EhrenJordan at Failla-Jordan. When Ehren & Al parted company, the grapes then went to KurtBeitler
(of the Wagner family) who planted the Caymus TaylorLane Pinot vnyd and lives there on TaylorLane. TaylorRidge
is topped by the TaylorLane Rd that dead-ends into the QS vnyd. Al's son, Vincent, has a Chard/Pinot vnyd there
on TaylorLane. Several yrs ago, Al decided to move into Healdsburg and sold the QS vnyd to Duncan & Nathan,
one of whom lives on the property.
The A-R QS Syrah shows only glimpses of the greatness that those grapes delivered in the F-J and Boheme Syrahs.
Maybe age will turn this painfully acidic Syrah into greatness, but I'm not tempted to spend the $$'s to find
out. This is probably my last hurrah w/ the A-R Syrahs.
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4. Jaffurs: These '16 Syrahs were made by Craig/Matt/Dave but finished up by DanGreen, who bought the wnry that Fall.
Of these 4 Syrahs, my clear favorite was the '13 Larner...very classic old-time Jaffurs Syrahs. My impression,
from these two Syrahs, and the whites we've tasted, my sense is that Dan, as befits a Pinot producer, is pushing
the Jaffurs wines towards a more balanced & restrained style of wine. But still with some of that classic Jaffurs
style. But have no fear, under Dan, the sky is not falling, Chicken Little is wrong, and I feel the Jaffurs wines
will continue to be some of SBC's finest. I'll vote w/ my pocketbook.
Tom
Posted by: TomHill

Jake Sez.. - 05-17-2019 13:41:41

I, of course, sent my less than glowing review of the LL's to JakeBilbro. He and Chris (Pittinger) pulled the same wines from their library and re-tasted thru them all and didn't find a problem with them.
Go figure.
Tom