Wine Tasting Video: US Syrah from California & Washington State

Wind Gap Syrah 2008, Sonoma County, California (£27.72 Vineyard Cellars)
Combines a smoky bacon-fat note with gentle berry and plum fruit, wonderful herby freshness and streak of minerality. Would be hard pushed to spot this as a Californian red. S(+)

Charles Smith Boom Boom! Syrah 2010, Columbia Valley, Washington State (£16.50 Bibendum)
Rich, rounded and fleshy, bordering on the overripe, with baked blackcurrant, berry and cherry flavours, and a floral (honeysuckle) note. OK but not my style. B

Chateau Ste Michelle Syrah 2009, Columbia Valley, Washington State (£12.49 Sipp London, All about Wine, Liquid Pleasure)
A bit too much toasty vanilla-scented oak to start with, but this calms down to allow the sweet ripe berry and blackcurrant flesh to shine through. Decent earthy, floral finish too. B+

Eberle ‘Steinbeck Vineyard’ Syrah 2009, Paso Robles, California (~£18 Alliance Wine)
Sweet, rounded and mature, with soft berry fruit, but as well as lacking freshness, the liquorice note speaks of overripeness, while the tannins remain on the firm side. B-

Waterstone Syrah 2006, Napa Valley, California (£18.48 Vineyard Cellars)
Starts off with the peppery, bandage-like character of brettanomyces just too prominent, but opens up with time – I gave it two days! – to show its more appealing fleshier, fruitier side, with damson and dark berry flavours plus notes of spice and vanilla. S-

Tor Kenward ROCK Syrah 2004, Carneros, California (£36.58 Vineyard Cellars)
Rounded, confident style, juicy, supple plum, berry and cherry flavours pepped up by notes of woodsmoke, black olives and herbs, and a rich but fresh and earthy finish. Sits at a very attractive halfway point between South Australia and the Rhône, fleshy but structured, and while showing some mature edges, has plenty of life ahead of it. S+

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