Bad Mood

I€™m in a bad mood tonight. I€™ve been tasting American syrahs.
I€™d looked forward to exploring these wines ever since my last visit
to Dry Creek Valley in 2006, when I tasted a few that shone with bright
blueberry flavors, velvety texture, and enticing balance.

So now I wanted to see if syrah has indeed found its voice in the
United States. And it has. It sings like Aunt Jemima. Or Mrs.
Butterworth.

These wines taste like pancake syrup. They are thick, viscous
behemoths that typically top 15% alcohol. Flavors are € heavy €
maple, mocha, some fruit masked underneath, but it is overwhelmed by
something €“ and I believe that something is the alcohol.

I€™ve found a few that I like, but none that I love. I opened six
tonight, from California, Oregon, and Washington. There wasn€™t a dog
in the bunch, but none I wanted to curl up with and just finish the
bottle either.

Sigh € guess I€™ll have to try some more tomorrow.

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5 Responses to Bad Mood

  1. Jeff Siegel says:

    It could be worse. You could have had to drink 12 of them at one time.
    Or pay for them, because my guess is that their prices were just as
    inflated as their alcohol.

  2. My Spit Cup Runneth Over.

  3. Actually, I’ve had a couple that are moderately priced, and moderately
    ambitious, so they have better balance than the monster syrahs. Estancia
    and
    Cline make nice affordable dinner wine syrah.

  4. Allen Clark says:

    As I mentioned at the embassy, my palate is a bit “moody” when it comes
    to big shiraz/syrah. Yes, sometimes it’s like bacon juice from the
    steroid school of winemaking, but there are times when a weighty beast
    can be appreciated, as long as the concentration of very ripe fruit can
    balance against the alcohol. But it’s certainly easier to appreciate
    cool-climate syrah that usually comes off with some finesse, the basis
    being a lighter, fresh blackberry, maybe with a touch of pepper. Such
    was my experience last night with the best red of what I tasted there –
    yes, an Aussie shiraz, the Castagna Genesis from way upland Victoria.
    Beautiful lilting nose as well. (Notable white was the Ostertag Pinot
    Gris, with the entire Marc Tempe lineup a close second.)

  5. I agree with you about the Tempe and the Ostertag; though I missed the
    Aussie, unfortunately. (For those reading along, Allen is referring to
    the
    “Return to Terroir” tasting of organic and biodynamic wines at the
    French
    Embassy on 2/24.)

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