Why Try … Sensational West Coast Syrah?

While I’m not sure if John Wayne drank wine but if he did I like to think it would have been a West Coast Syrah.

Syrah or Shiraz is the darkest of the red wines. Even darker than the almighty Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s big and bold with a vast flavor profile. Leather, licorice, dark berries, smokey, and earthy just to name a few. Syrah tends to differ in characteristics depending on where in the world it is grown. West Coast Syrah tends to be a memorable wine worthy of taking note of certainly.

Old World Syrah

Let’s break this down into “New World” and “Old World” Syrah. The U.S., South America and Australia (where it can also be referred to as Shiraz). Here, these are usually more of a spicy fruit bomb. Old World Syrahs, French and Italian, tend to be slightly more subtle with herbal notes and higher acid. This allows them to pair with a more food options but more importantly age longer, sometimes over 20 years. The Old World produces some of the most expensive Syrah in the world. These come from a small appellation called Hermitage which gave Syrah the fame it has today.

West Coast Syrah – New World

My favorite Syrahs come from the New World. Specifically the West Coast. I’m not a fan of subtle.

When it comes to Syrah I say hit me! The bigger the better. Big West Coast Syrahs should taste like chewing a leather saddle while smoking a fine cigar and eating a bowl of the darkest fruit you have ever seen! Another reason I like West Coast best is because while pairing beautifully with food they can still be drank all by themselves.

There is nothing like a cold damp day being saved by a roaring fire and a nice glass of sensational Syrah. Whether it is New or Old World I would recommend rich meat dishes or dishes with high acid to pair with this wine. Veal chops, steaks, lamb and duck just to name a few for proteins. However, anything to with a nice rich tomato sauce would be amazing as well. Syrah is also a cheese and charcuteries’ best friend.

No matter what you decide, New World, Old world, with or without food just remember to enjoy it and have fun with it. Cheers!

Syrahs CKJY Exports Enjoys and Offers for Export

Wine from smaller wineries has a special personality and character that mass produced wines lack. Each of these Syrah offerings is enjoyable and worthy of your interest.

Cardella Winery

Cardella 2012 Syrah - CKJY Exports Wine & Spirits Blog

Syrah is an ancient grape variety with ancestral roots thought to be from the area of modern day Syria. In warm climates, it produces a wine with a completely different personality than those of the cooler regions. The wine is soft and elegant with ripe fruit aromas and velvety tannins. This wine has not been filtered and so it could have some tartrate deposits, which might surprise you. Those tartrate deposits mean this wine has a lot going on.

San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competitions 2015 – 2011 Vintage – Silver Medal

88 points at Tastings World Wine Competition – 2011 Vintage – Silver Medal

Monterey International Wine Competition 2015 – 2011 Vintage – Silver Medal

Finger Lakes International Wine Competition 2015 – 2011 Vintage – Silver Medal

91 Points at the California State Fair Wine Competition 2016 – 2012 Vintage – Silver Medal

San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition 2016 – 2012 Vintage – Silver Medal

Cathedral Ridge Winery

Syrah Cathedral Ridge Winery - CKJY Exports Wine & Spirits Blog

Dark and alluring, notes of toasted vanilla, cacao nibs, and ripe mulberry lead into a palate rich with huckleberry and cordial.

Our Syrah is an exceptionally harmonious blend of 2 fabulous vineyards: Bangsund Vineyard in The Dallas and Moody Vineyard at the mouth of the Deschutes River, Oregon – stunning locations with distinctive terroir. The wine is dark, rich and alluring. Aromas of ripe mulberry and toasted vanilla lead into a layered palate of cordial, huckleberry and cacao nibs.  The finish is smooth and long with supple tannic structure perfect for pork dishes! The Cathedral Ridge Syrah is consistently a favorite wine of the team and one that’s easy to pair with. Try a succulent Seared Pork Loin Topped with Fig Jam, a recipe card is included with purchase.

Eponymous Winery

Eponymous Syrah 2008 - CKJY Exports Wine & Spirits Blog

Syrah 2009

When the opportunity arises to make small quantities of wine from an exceptional vineyard, and work with the grower to coax the best out of the vines from such a vineyard, I have a hard time passing up the chance. This is the second vintage of Eponymous Syrah. The grapes come from a relatively young vineyard east of the town of Napa on Monticello Road and the grower is an old friend with whom I needed no persuasion to join forces.

The attractive deep purple, garnet color leads to a complexity of aromas that hint of black pepper, rosemary, and a touch of a smokey, oven roasted meat dripping character that I always look for in a good Syrah. The flavors follow nicely to the palate with added spice notes. This full-bodied wine is well balanced with good weight and grip that glides evenly across the palate finishing with pleasing flavors that linger pleasingly.

McKahn Family Cellars

McKahn Family Cellars - Syrah 2015 - CKJY Exports Wine & Spirits Blog

Aromas of ripe blackberry, anise, bacon jam, violet and demi-glace. On the palate, this wine is very robust

Tasting Notes – Aromas of ripe blackberry, anise, bacon jam, violet and demi-glace. On the palate, this wine is very robust with velvety, mouth coating tannins. Dark French roast coffee and cocoa nib derived from our oak barrel program smooths out the mid and back palate.

Vineyard Designation – Ballentine Vineyard

Vineyard Notes – The sub appellation of Saint Helena lies in the northern half of the Napa Valley, situated at the valley’s narrowest point. This choke point provides warmer day and nighttime temperatures and less exposure to fog. Soils consist mostly of sedimentary and gravel-clay composition, derived from the Napa River’s prehistoric route.

Winemaker Notes – “Every winemaker should have a favorite varietal, and mine is Syrah. It is complex, vivacious, and delicious. Its signature spice and dark berry aromas and flavors, as well as its black sheep reputation, have fascinated me since adolescence.” -Charles McKahn, Winemaker

Ratings – Wine Enthusiast – 92 Points December 2017 “Smoked plum fruit is adorned with leather, coffee and dark cherry notes in this delicious, vibrant, full-bodied wine. Soft and rounded at the edges and dark and dense on the palate, a lick of acidity keeps it buoyant.” – VB

Merlo 2012-Syrah - CKJY Exports Wine & Spirits Blog

Dense purple-black with a crimson edge, it is almost intimidating in appearance. The nose gives you classic Syrah notes of pepper and blackberries, while the barrel aging adds a touch of cedar and coconut. The palate is full and deep with a welcome lift of acidity. As of this writing (in fall of November 2014), the tannins are just beginning to show themselves into what will become a silky texture and carry the wine forward for at least another 5-8 years.

Gold Medal – 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – 2013 Vintage

Gold Medal – 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – 2012 Vintage

Interested in Learning More about Importing One of these Lovely Syrahs?  Contact us.


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