Cakebread Cellars, Syrah, Napa Valley, 2009 $55
My rating for this bottle? I would drink the whole thing.
The last time I had a Syrah was in college. I remember it like yesterday (oh, the college days...) - every Thursday night my roommate, Jacqueline, and I would each buy a bottle of Syrah (also known as Shiraz in Australia where this grape is widely grown) and various snacks to snuggle up on the couch with and watch the newest episode of Grey's Anatomy. This was when Grey's was good, like the first season.
At the time, we sourced our wine from the grocery store or 7Eleven and just grabbed whatever was less than $10. The Syrah was heavy, spicy, bold, with no subtleties or relief from the full on tannin attack. I didn't like it very much and it certainly didn't pair well with my chocolate chip cookies or brie and crackers. I since swore off Syrah and because obsessed with Malbecs, then Bordeaux blends.
Over the summer I went to Napa Valley and discovered a new love for Syrah. It was this bottle of Cakebread that opened new doors. You'll first notice an inky blackish-red color, then a complex flavor of spices and juicy fruit. Most noticeable to me was the taste of plum and blackberry similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon but with a lot more depth than what I had previously experienced. I wrote in my tasting notes "warm and sexy" to describe drinking this wine.
It turns out the key to drinking a Syrah with more depth of flavor and a balanced palate is to buy one that has aged slightly. The wines we were drinking in college were fresh out of the barrel and aging this wine rounds it out and softens those harsh tannins.