Aged in American oak for 8 months produced a Syrah, smooth rich & spicy with a peppery finish.
General: High tannins, high acidity, blackberry, dark chocolate
Medium climate: Mint, eucalyptus, smoked meat, black pepper
Hot climate: Liquorice, cloves
With age: Leather, wet leaves, earth.
Rise of the Wine:
The wines that made Syrah famous were those from Hermitage, the hill above the town Tain-l'Hermitage in northern Rhône, where an hermitage (chapel) was built on the top, and where de Stérimberg is supposed to have settled as a hermit after his crusades. Hermitage wines have for centuries had a reputation for being powerful and excellent. While Hermitage was quite famous in the 18th and 19th centuries, and attracted interest from foreign oenophiles, such as Bordeaux enthusiast Thomas Jefferson, it lost ground and foreign attention in the first half of the 20th century.
In the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries, most Hermitage wine that left France did so as a blending component in Bordeaux wines. In an era when "clarets" were less powerful than today, and before appellation rules, red wines from warmer regions would be used for improvement (or adulteration, depending on the point of view) of Bordeaux wines. While Spanish and Algerian wines are also known to have been used for this purpose, top Bordeaux châteaux would use Hermitage to improve their wines, especially in weaker vintages.
Syrah continues to be the main grape of the northern Rhône and is associated with classic wines such as Hermitage, Cornas and Côte-Rôtie. In the southern Rhône, it is used as a blending grape in such wines as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône, where Grenache usually makes up the bulk of the blend. Although its best incarnations will age for decades, less-extracted styles may be enjoyed young for their lively red and blueberry characters and smooth tannin structure. Syrah has been widely used as a blending grape in the red wines of many countries due to its fleshy fruit mid-palate, balancing the weaknesses of other varieties and resulting in a "complete" wine.
From the 1970s and even more from the 1990s, Syrah has enjoyed increased popularity, and plantings of the variety have expanded significantly in both old and new locations. In the early 2000s, it broke into the top 10 of varieties planted worldwide for the first time
Taste and Flavors:
Wines made from Syrah are often powerfully flavoured and full-bodied. The variety produces wines with a wide range of flavor notes, depending on the climate and soils where it is grown, as well as other viticultural practices chosen. Aroma characters can range from violets to berries (usually dark as opposed to red), chocolate, espresso and black pepper. No one aroma can be called "typical" though blackberry and pepper are often noticed. With time in the bottle these "primary" notes are moderated and then supplemented with earthy or savory "tertiary" notes such as leather and truffle. "Secondary" flavor and aroma notes are those associated with several things, generally winemakers' practices (such as oak barrel and yeast treatment).
In the United States, wine produced from the grape is normally called by its French name, Syrah. However, in cases where winemakers choose to follow a New World style, similar to Penfolds Grange, they may choose to label their wines as Shiraz. Under American wine laws, either name may appear on the label. Syrah first appeared as a wine grape in California in the 1970s, where it was planted by a group of viticulturists who called themselves "Rhône rangers." Although most plantings of the grape are in California, there are increasing amounts of it being grown in Washington state. Syrah makes up a significant percentage of wine produced in several Washington AVA's such as the Naches Heights AVA and the Walla Walla AVA.
California Syrahs, much like those in France, vary a great deal based on the climate and terroir that they inhabit. In exceptionally warm regions, such as parts of Napa, the wine is often blended with other Rhône varieties. Other appellations, primarily mountainous ones, tend to produce varietal-based wines that can stand on their own. Syrah was introduced into Washington state in 1986 by Red Willow Vineyard through their partnership with Woodinville, Washington based Columbia Winery and Master of Wine David Lake. Expanding at a significant rate, it is used to produce single varietial wines as well as being blended with grapes such as Grenache, Cinsault, and Viognier.
Characteristics of SYRAH:
Also called: Hermitage, Antourenein noir, Candive, Entournerein, Hignin noir, Marsanne noir
Major regions: Rhone, California AVAs, Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Columbia Valley AVA
Notable wines: Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage
Ideal soil: Stony granite
Syrah or Shiraz is a dark-skinned grape grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce red wine. Whether sold as Syrah or Shiraz, these wines enjoy great popularity.
Syrah is used as a varietal and is also blended. Following several years of strong planting, Syrah was estimated in 2004 to be the world's 7th most grown grape at 142,600 hectares (352,000 acres).
DNA profiling in 1999 found Syrah to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse blanche. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a synonym for Durif, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880.