It smelled like Viognier


The wine was a 2006 Quivira “Hommage A Ampuis” Syrah. The wine hails from the Dry Creek Valley (please go see Dr. Deb’s excellent rant on the value of multiple varietals from the DCV), clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, and cost me $36 minus a club discount in my club shipment. The notable part about the winemaking technique of this bottle is that the Syrah juice was fermented on Viognier skins (this also makes me wonder if Quivira has a Viognier they’ve been holding out on!).

And the oddest part was the it smelled like Viognier. If I were doing a blind tasting and hasn’t yet actually tasted this wine, I would have said “Viognier!” and been very confident in that proclamation (except for maybe the slightest hint of dark berries, that would have thrown me for a minutes, but I still would have said “Viognier”). The nose was floral, with pears, violets, honeysuckle, and just a suggestion of dark berries. My notes helpfully say “How very odd.”

The color of the wine was dark purple, like any other Syrah. So I was expecting it to be big and chewy like a Syrah despite its time spent playing with Viognier skins. Instead, this was a much lighter and delicate red wine on the front of the palate. It showed blackberries, blueberries, spice, cinnamon, and black cherry.

My first glass was tannic on the back of the palate. The wine needed air or time or both to loosen up. I have a second bottle of this in the basement and I will hold it for another year or so to see if the time in the bottle will help the wine integrate a bit more. This is the first Syrah I’ve had that involves Viognier, though I’ve seen/read about some that contain upwards of 5% Viognier juice. I think I’d like to get my hands on one of those and see how it compares to this one that simply fermented on the Viognier skins.

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