A beautiful Northern California day greeted about a dozen or so wine nuts for BAWEs September tasting event yesterday afternoon in Berkeley, CA. This months event was graciously and generously hosted by WS Forums own Lafon Rochet at her wonderful home, and the theme was New World Syrah. As always, the wine and conversation flowed, and the food was plentiful and mighty tasty, but enough setup, on to the wine!
My tasting notes are pretty brief (spent more time talking and enjoying the wine and less time writing). So hopefully others will chime in on this thread and fill in their impressions as well as filling in the blanks.
Highlights from the tasting itself: 1997 Hanna Bismark Ranch Syrah I brought this selection, so obviously I was extremely pleased with how it was showing. It was a close vote, but the Hanna was winner of flight #1 with the 1997 Phelps Syrah a close 2nd. The 2nd flight seemed overall weaker than the 1st, but had the added benefit of an evil wine in the lineup. Yes, EVIL dark, brooding, a wine from the dark side, one of the ringers of the night a 1996 Syrah from Spain! The evil wine came in 2nd place, with the 1999 Rosemount winning the flight.
1999 Chateau Fonsalette Chatea Chateauneuf du Pape Spicy nose, has the look of an older wine but doesnt come across so on the nose or palate. Very spicy/peppery and lighter in body than the others.
1998 ???? Victory Shiraz Deep purple in color, deep rich nose, lots of oak, heavy full body big syrah. I mis-wrote the vintner on this hopefully someone will full in the blanks.
1998 Joseph Phelps Syrah Also deep purple and oakey, but deeper, more complex wine game and dried herbs (thyme). 2nd favorite of the flight.
1997 Joseph Phelps Syrah Lighter on the palate than the two above, very pleasant, but not as much going on as 2 & 3. Meaty syrah.
1999 Parker Coonawarra Estate Shiraz A little bell pepper action, tart sour apple, my least favorite of the lineup.
1997 Hanna Bismark Ranch Syrah wow, tons of fruit & oak, rich, deep, really tasty. My favorite wine of the entire lineup.
1997 Jade Mountain An off bottle I think, smokey and thin, and not much else.
2000 Paige 23 Syrah Awful sweet nose, sweet palate, overly perfumed, and shallow. Some described it as kool-aid not a bit descriptor, what is up with this wine???
2000 D'Arenberg the Footbolt Good fruit, soft, not overpowering, grapey, very pleasant.
2000 Hunter Hill Hunters Blend My ringer, showed terribly against this competition. Thin and vegetal.
1996 Dominio De Valdepase Syrah (Spain) Bacon fat, hard edge on the nose, tons of oak, dark, evil, brooding
.I like it!
1999 Rosemount Estate well balanced, nice, easy drinking syrah my favorite of the flight.
Following the tasting our generous host opened some special selections from her excellent cellar (notes get even briefer as the evening goes on)
2000 T-Vine Petit Syrah WOW, I really like this wine. Outstanding.
1994 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Showing some age to it already, but very very nice.
2000 Biale Petit Syrah Huge, huge wine showing very well, but I prefer the T-Vine.
Dinner followed about half of us headed to Liaison, a terrific French Restaurant on Shattuck Ave along with a half dozen more wines from Lafons cellar. No notes taken, just note that these were all outstanding:
Dr. Loosen Riesling (didnt catch the vintage), 1994 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages, 1998 Lewelling Wight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chatelain Pouilly-Fume (from the list), and another excellent Cab from Lafons cellar that I am ashamed to say I cannot remember the name (someone help me out here!)