Home Wine Regions Californian Wine SPELLwine Napa Valley Syrah

Last week I reviewed the SPELLwine sangiovese and this week we’re checking out their syrah.

I admit it.  I have a prejudice against Californian syrah.  I’ve had far too much of it that is over-extracted, syrupy sweet and too overpowering to pair with anything I eat.  It’s not the grape’s fault.  I’ve had plenty of syrah-laden wines from Cotes du Rhone that are awesome!  And with this syrah from SPELLwine, winemaker Kristen Spelletich proves to me that it’s not California’s fault either.  It’s the choices the winemakers are making.

Kristen approaches syrah in a way that she says is “appropriate for the varietal.”  And she does it well, proving my prejudice is misplaced.  California can create a balanced, approachable syrah.  And the SPELLwine syrah is also one with enough structure to last a few years.

“In twenty years there won’t be and good library wines available,” Kristen commented to me.  “Because everyone is manipulating the shit out of their wine to make it drinkable now.  But it’s not good for aging.  What’s wrong with letting a wine lie in the bottle or a barrel for a few years?”

And this one has been lying around for a few years.  Check the vintage on this wine.  It’s a 2006!  But it’s not something I’ve had lying around, you can buy the 2006 vintage of syrah from SPELLwine today!  How awesome is that?  Rather than bottling a full vintage and moving it out as quickly as they can, they let it sit and bottle on demand.

SPELLwine Napa Valley Syrah

This syrah offers a beautiful, harmonious nose with aromas like black pepper, black raspberry, plums and toasted oak.  The palate brings scrumptious fruit flavors that come through as full but not jammy.  It starts with plum and berry flavors, then evolves into spice on the midpalate.  The tannins are just enough to give some texture to the mouthfeel, although I wouldn’t call it silky.  This is a well balanced and structured wine, but it’s little agressive on the edges, making it just shy of elegant.  But it’s still a spectacular wine and a great example of what I wish more Californian winemakers would do with this varietal.

Wine: SPELLwine
Variety: Syrah
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol: 14.4%
Rating: 89
Price: $16.00

Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.

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