April 1, 2017

Australian Cabernet & Shiraz Blends vs.California Cabernet & Syrah Blends

1. 2014 Melville Syrah Estate Sta. Rita Hills (California)
I always love the two blockbuster Syrahs from this estate, both of which need to be sought out by readers. Tons of black olive, smoked and salted meats, as well as ripe dark fruits all emerge from the incredibly polished, elegant and layered 2014 Syrah Estate, which is just an off the hook value. Inky colored, layered, yet graceful and light on its feet, with gorgeous fruit, drink this beauty over the coming 4-5 years, although I wouldn't be surprised to see it evolve for longer. Rated 95 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2. 2004 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra Vineyard Clarendon (Australia)
The 2004 Syrah Liandra was fashioned from 100-year-old vines grown in clay and sandy soils. Its inky/purple color is followed by a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, blackberries, tar, and hints of smoke and bay leaves. Full-bodied, opulent, and rich with low acidity as well as sweet tannin, it can be drunk young or cellared for 10-15+ years. Rated 92 The Wine Advocate

3. 2004 Mitolo "Serpico" Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale (Australia)
The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Serpico (aged 12 months in new American hogsheads as well as small French barrels) comes from the Willunga district in the southern sector of McLaren Vale, near the ocean. It exhibits a dense purple color in addition to an extraordinary bouquet of smoke, blueberries, black raspberries, and cassis. Superbly endowed with admirable purity, sweet tannin, a floral/fruity component, and a fabulously layered, concentrated mid-palate as well as finish, it is one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignons to ever emerge from South Australia. It should age well for 10-15 years. Rated 94 The Wine Advocate

4. 2013 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley (California)
"Offering a good contrast to the Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley offers has a dense ruby/purple color and complete symmetry in its tannin, acidity, alcohol and wood. It is full-bodied, ripe, with loads of black fruits, a slight earthiness that gives it a different element than the Sonoma cuvée, and seems slightly bigger and richer than the Sonoma, but both are great values in the scheme of world-class Cabernet Sauvignons. This wine should drink well for 20 years." Rated 92 Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

5. 2006 Noon Winery Eclipse South Australia (Australia) - Grenache & Syrah
The 2006 Eclipse is a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Shiraz, sourced from 60- to 80-year-old vines in McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. The wine spent 18 months in small and large French and American oak. Dark ruby colored, it offers a fragrant, already complex bouquet of violets, mineral, Asian spices, leather, black cherry, and blueberry. Remarkably elegant and impeccably balanced, on the palate notes of garrigue, licorice, and kirsch emerge leading into a 60+-second finish. It can be enjoyed now but for optimum pleasure, give it another five years of cellaring and drink it through 2026. Noon, under the leadership of Drew Noon MW, remains one of Australia's iconic wineries. As usual, Drew Noon sets the bar for South Australia. 97 points Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

6. 2013 Tensley Syrah Colon Canyon Vineyard Santa Barbara County (California)The largest-scaled Colson Canyon to date, the 2013 Syrah Colson Canyon is classic cassis, black raspberry, graphite and toasty notes to go with a full-bodied, concentrated and layered profile on the palate. This got a big "Wow" in the notes, and while it doesn’t pull any punches with regards to fruit or texture, it stays lively and elegant. It will have 10-15 years of longevity. This is another great lineup by Joey Tensley. He has a couple new releases in the lineup (Syrah 27m and the Tensley Vineyard), and his single vineyard releases continue to offer sensational value. 94-97 points Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

7. 2013 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz Clare Valley (Australia)
*Special Value Selection* Full crimson-purple; the back label proclaims that the Lodge Hill Vineyard is the highest in the Clare Valley at 480m and the wine has cool-grown nuances in its bloodstream; jet black fruits have rivulets of licorice, pepper and spice with banks of fine, savoury tannins. 93 points James Halliday

8. 2013 LaCuna Red Wine (California) - 85% Syrah, 6% Carignan, 3% Mourvedre, 2% Petite Sirah and 4% Viognier grapes
The Story: Everyone’s dream is to make great wine. That said, when two friends and set out to do so, they had one problem – no winemaker! When they hooked up with ace winemaker Morgan Twain Peterson (Bedrock) their problem was solved and their 10 year dream came to fruition. This is the sixth release and it has created a great following among many of our clients. I’d be surprised not to see another high (95 point) rating, as this is on par with the Bedrock wines that have garnered 95-99 Points). Golden Gate Wine Cellars