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Syrah, Shiraz…Ah Who Cares What You Call It

June 8, 2009

Its Sunday afternoon and another lovely day. The bees are out again and those industrious little guys are having a field day in our raspberry patch.

Well, yesterday Terry and I missed another Dionysis at Mastronardi. It always seems to fall at the wrong time. I really had to get the back door finished on my house and its been a bear. Whoever buys it is getting much better than I had. I always wondered why there was a gale in my kitchen and when I opened up the door I found out why. Oi! what a mess…actually the wall grows ~ 1.5 inches across the door. I guess that is why I had “issues” with getting locks to work. Fixed now BTW.

So we decided to have lamb for dinner. What wine??? We started with the Mastronardi Meritage (which is drinking wonderfully now) then decided to have a Syrah for dinner.

Syrah is the wonderful Southern French grape that originates in the Rhone Valley. There it is spicy, tasty and has all those great leathery flavours I love. With rosemary and lavender growing all around it takes those notes making it great with lamb.

Now, our Aussie cousins call it Shiraz, as the grape is thought to have originated in Persia. But there with the heat it is a totally different animal. Big, fruit forward and high alcohol. Fun, yes, and in its best wonderful, but in a pedestrian form jammy and manipulated.

Here, it really shouldn't grow but it does and oi, it is good. So here, a cool climate area we make very good Syrah which is a warm climate grape. Its weird but it works.

No music tonight as the Wings were on. Little Vladimir, my terrier, used to take hockey very seriously and knew when Detroit scored. Well, when he started watching the game, the Wings dominated.

The wine was from Smith and Wilson. A wonderful place just outside Blenheim and we always try to get to.

So lets look at their Syrah:

Visual: this wine is very dark coloured and does it have legs. The wine is beautiful in the glass and inviting.

Aroma: the aroma is very complex with loads of secondary aromas ( oak, leather, dirt, spices). I smell my old ball glove. Then there is some deep fruit and spice. This smells wonderful.

Taste: the taste mirrors the smell. Complex and beautiful. The oaky, leather is there with some really dark fruit. The finish is sooooooo long, I just love it. The tannins are there along with a good dose of acid for backbone. This is a well made wine. The jamminess that I get from Aussie wine is hinted too but thats it. It gives some velvet but its not objectionable.

With the lamb (grilled with Herbes de Jim….kinda like Herbes de Provence except from my garden) went perfectly with the wine. The herbal tones came out and the secondary tastes from the Syrah mingled beautifully with the herbes and spice. It was heavenly.

This Syrah is a beaut and a value at the price. I recommend it heartily and its on my “just can't do it here” rebuttal list. Along with the Muscedere and the Aleksander, these wines just show what we can do, even with a grape that shouldn't grow here.


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