WBW #30 New World Syrah

For this WBW, Tim of Winecast is our host and he requested that we choose a New World Syrah (or Shiraz, same thing!) to review this week. So that leaves a lot of the world to choose from…Australia, North American, South America, etc. My choice was made easy by two factors. One, I have a ton of California Syrahs hanging around and two, I’m trying to limit my purchases of wine. Thus, a California Syrah for me!

The wine I chose was a 2004 Fritz Alexander Valley Syrah. This came in our last shipment from Fritz and cost us around $21. It is 14.2% alcohol by volume and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I got roasted meat and tons of dark fruit, plus an earthy quality and a hint of violets. In the mouth it transformed to pepper and spice with cherries and a leather taste.

I believe that there is at least one other bottle of this Syrah in our collection. I will leave it on the shelf as I think this has great potential to age for several years. There were enough dry tannins in the mouth to hold this one together and I really believe the dark blackberries will come out more, along with the violet which appeared after several hours in my glass (I usually end up drinking about a glass and a half out of a bottle since I like to watch it develop and by the time I get ready for my second glass there isn’t much left in the bottle!). The berries really made their appearance as my glass sat out. If you are going to drink it now, I would suggest decanting or at least letting your glass sit out for an hour or so.

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Worth Another Look

We drank a first bottle of this wine over Thanksgiving, in this post, but I don’t feel I did it much justice, both in the food pairing and the short treatment I gave it in my post. It deserves another look! I was going to let the remaining bottles of our Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel age for a while, but we just got another shipment and it had an additional 2 bottles, so I thought we’d drink one.

This cost us $25 in a club shipment, has 14.2% alcohol by volume and came with a real cork closure. On this bottle, I found blackberries and raspberries on the nose, with a bit of currant. That’s a little different than the last time where I found blackberries and cherries. In the mouth I got the same fruit I found in the nose, plus earth, tobacco and cedar.

I paired this with a leftover filet mignon and risotto and it did really well with the steak. I can definitely picture this as a great bbq rib bottle of wine. After dinner we had some dark dark bittersweet chocolate and this wine just shone with the chocolate. It was perfect. The raspberry flavors and the chocolate together were fabulous.

Friday Night Causulties

We hosted a dinner party on Friday night for several of Matt’s coworkers. Since it was my day off, I got to spend the day prepping food and picking out wine to serve. A total of 5 bottles of wine fell here on Friday, 2 whites, 2 reds and a dessert wine. With them I served a platter of assorted cheese and crackers, bruschetta, homemade pizza (1 pepperoni, 1 ham and pineapple) and chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream.

The first wine served was a 2005 Fritz Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, served with the assorted cheese and crackers. I’m almost always a fan of a crisp sauvignon blanc with cheese, especially when I’m serving creamy, tongue coating cheese, and this was no exception. We picked this bottle up at Fritz for $16.20 this summer, real cork closure and 13.6% alcohol by volume. A great match! Crisp, tart and acidic on the finish. Fairly citrusy, with lemons and grapefruits on the nose and the mouth. A nice long acidic finish. I’m glad we have a few more of these hanging around.

Second was a bottle of Quivira 2004 Syrah. I don’t remember if this came in a club shipment o if we bought it at Quivira, but it was $28.00, had a real cork closure and is 14.4% alcohol by volume. This bottle was a big hit with all of our guests and was served with the pepperoni pizza. A deep inky purple, it was a beautiful glass of wine. I decanted it for nearly an hour before serving, which was definetly a good call. There was vanilla and spice on the nose, and also a distinct scent of bacon. In the mouth there were blackberries and currants. It had a big mouth feel and was smooth, but the alcohol was there, so decant!

Third was a bottle of Ferrari Carano 2003 Zinfandel. At 14.8% alcohol by volume, this was a big wine. It had a real cork closure and ran us $21.60. This one is done, it didn’t need to be decanted at all, if you have it drink it now. We have one other bottle and I will serve it asap. Raisins and black currants on the nose, with blackberries in the mouth. It had a very nice finish and I didn’t even notice the big alcohol. This was not the typical big zinfandel, it was more reserved and not too fruit forward, but an excellent balanced bottle. I served this with the ham and pineapple pizza. Drink up now!

Forth was a bottle of Trentadue Chocolate Amore Red Dessert Wine. Now, if you want to talk about big alcohol levels, here it is! This one sits at 18.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure and I don’t remember what it cost. It’s a very tasty and well done dessert wine, though the chocolate is flavor added. Under the chocolate, there were layers of red raspberry. It was fairly thick, but this is probably Matt’s favorite dessert wine ever. I served it with chocolate mousse.

Finally, a bottle of 2005 De La Montanya Fume Blanc. 14.6% alcohol by volume, a real cork closure and cost us $16 at the vineyard. This was floral and aromatic on the nose. In the mouth there was green apple. A crisp wine with a good structure and a decent finish. I thought the flavors in this bottle were very well done and it was definitely a good value. I think we have 2 more of these hanging around.

Phew, that was a long one, but an excellent party, with excellent food if I do say so myself and delicious wine!

And then there were 8

Seven of these were from our collection and were consumed between Wednesday and now. The Champagne was a gift from my husband’s Aunt and Uncle who came to our house for Thanksgiving.

Let’s start with Wednesday evening.

Out of this collection, far and away my favorite was the Fritz 2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. We picked this bottle up for $25 while visiting Fritz Winery. Fritz was great, we joined their club and got to meet several members of the Fritz family who served our wine that day and wandered in and out while we were there for our tasting.

Of course, we didn’t really do this wine justice as we drank it while eating a Pizza Hut delivery and waiting for the call that my husband’s brother and our sister in law had arrived, but nonetheless, it was fabulous. It had a lot of big fruit, cherries and blackberries and I also got a hint of tobacco. It was smooth and big and easy to drink. I have two more bottles that I will keep in our collection as I expect this will just get better with age.

The next wine of the evening was a De La Montanya Felta Creek Vineyards 2005 Summer White. Even my sister in law, who is not a big fan of white wine, liked this one. I wrote on my note pad that this was crisp, quite acidic and tasted like pears. I also jotted down that it probably would have done well with Thanksgiving as it could have easily cut through all the creamy buttery flavors.

Finally, we moved on to a Columbia Winery Spirit of Washington Dinner Train 2004 Riesling. Columbia Winery is in Washington State and we did pick up this bottle when our Dinner Train stopped at the winery. For $7.00 it was quite a bargain. A nice sweet riesling, very easy to drink and a good way to finish the evening.