Que Syrah, Syrah
Free tasting | Saturday, May 5, 2018 | 4-6PM
The first thing one should know about Syrah is that it is a vigorous grape that is as versatile as Jimmy Stewart – Jimmy nailed goofy roles like the comedic Harvey, or the conflicted George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, or distressed Dr. Ben McKenna in the Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much. Syrah is grown all around the world including France, Australia, Italy, the US, Spain…the list goes on – even China began planting it in 2009! Syrah is so awesome that everyone – from the former Crusaders to the Australians – want to take credit for it, but many were disappointed when recent genetic testing revealed that Syrah is the child of a crossing between the Mondeuse Blanche and Dureza grape; this crossing probably took place in the Rhone-Alps region. France wins!
It doesn’t matter what you like to call Syrah - from Shiraz, Hermitage, or Syrac - because this grape is a bold wonderland that can play well with others. Blending it with grapes like Grenache/Garnacha smooth out the tannins and create a lush background of spiced berries. When grown in Cornas, Syrah is a deeply smooth rush of meatiness and earth. In Adelaide Hills, Shiraz tends to lean towards violets, cassis, and blackberries. Italian grown Syrah can be filled with gamey and olive notes. California Syrah’s are bright and flashy with richly textured bodies and pepperiness. Come taste ALL the Syrah – in all its forms, and all its beauty, this Saturday at the shop!
Nerd fact: The song ‘Que Sera, Sera’ was a popular song (written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans) and sang by Doris Day in the Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. We will be singing this song on repeat, subbing in the word Syrah – you’ll still come hang, right??!)
2017 Ochota Barrels ‘I am the Owl’ – South Australia, Australia | When on a surfing/wine road trip, Taras and Amber Ochota got an idea to create their own winery. Both held apprenticeships and positions as winemakers before but wanted to combine their passion for wine andmusic into a business. All of their wines are named after their favorite songs – this rebellious Syrah is named after the Dead Kennedy’s jam, ‘I am the Owl’. The grapes were cold soaked for 3 days and spent 6-10 days on their skins and stalks. They were then basket-pressed and aged in used French barriques for 6 months. This deep Syrah is filled with notes of Cherry Coke, blackberry, and tobacco.
2015 Franck Balthazar, Cornas – Rhône Valley, France | ‘Whatever will be, will be’…Franck Balthazar didn’t need Doris Day to tell him about the possibility of becoming a winemaker; he had already known the struggles and passion needed for winemaking from his father and grandfather. In 2002 he traded a career for engineering and headed back to Cornas to grow Syrah with biodynamic winemaking methods. Franck’s vineyards are ploughed by a horse and his grapes are fermented in whole clusters going through native yeast fermentation in concrete vats. This elegant Syrah was aged in neutral demi-muid barrels without fining or filtration. It is a dark meaty wine with notes of spicy plums and cassis.
2016 Kivelstadt Cellars ‘KC Labs’ Syrah – California, USA| Before Sideways was released, popularity for Californian Syrah was rising—but then the craving for Pinot Noir began and Syrah was edged out! People are definitely curious about Syrah from California though, including winemaker Jordan Kivelstadt from Kivelstadt Cellers in Mendocino. The KC Labs Series is a point of pride for the natural winemaker, who uses it as a chance to experiment with different varietals. This Syrah was picked early and fermented in whole clusters; it has racing acidity with notes of spiced blackberries and plums!
2015 Clos Pons ‘Jan Petit’ – Catalonia, Spain | 100% organic winery, Clos Pons, is located in the southern area of Les Garrigues in the DO Costers del Segre of inner Catalonia. This cuvée includes 75% Syrah and 25% Garnacha from 15-year-old vines, grown atop limestone rock and clay. The wine is aged for 6 months in French and American oak barrels, giving it a full-bodied mouthfeel with notes of vanilla and toffee (American oak typically results in the flavor note of vanilla).The result is a fresh red wine with soft tannins and balanced acidity, and notes of candied cherries and clove spice.
2014 Fabrizio Dionisio ‘Castagno’ – Tuscany, Italy | The ‘Castagno’, or ‘chestnut’ is 100% estate grown Syrah from Fabrizio Dionisio’s vineyards in Cortona in Tuscany. It’s aged in stainless steel and cement vats and has a fresh, fruity flavor with notes of plum, juniper berries, violets and a slight herbaceousness.