Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wine Blogging Wednesday #47: This Wine Brought to You By the Letter "S"

This month's Wine Blogging Wednesday, Lenn Thompson's online tasting event, is inspired by Sesame Street, Sammy the Snake, and all other good things that start with the letter "S." Our hosts, Erin and Michelle from Grape Juice, wanted to see what we would come up with if left to our own devices with only a consonant to guide us.

My choice was the 200-

cenic Root Growers
picerack Vineyards "Punchdown"
Syrah from the
onoma Coast.

How's that for sticking to the theme!

First, a little bit about Scenic Root Growers. You may not link all their wines together, but Scenic Root are the people who bring you Pey-Marin and Pey-Lucia Pinot Noirs, Texbook Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Tamalpais Merlot, and Pey-Marin Riesling. The folks behind these labels are Susan and Jonathan Pey, who are proponents of natural and sustainable growing practices. They are also helping to keep alive the tradition of wine-making and grape-growing in Marin County (you may know Marin County as the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge), which began back in the early 19th century.

For this bottling, Susan and Jonathan did things a little differently from what you might expect to see in a California Syrah. First, they obtained cool climate, Sonoma Coast fruit. Then, they used neutral French oak barrels for fermentation and to age the wines which means there is little to no oak influence on the wine. Finally, a little bit (4%) Grenache was added to the juice to compliment the existing fruit flavors and textures.

The result was an excellent QPR discovery. ($20.89 in our local coastal grocery store; expect to find it for $19-$40 at a retailer near you) The 2006 Scenic Root Growers Spicerack Vineyards "Punchdown" Syrah reminded me of the northern Rhone's red wines, especially those from the area around Cornas, with its blue-black fruit profile and spicy touches of pepper. It was inky purple color, which hinted at the aromas of plums, blueberries, and smoke that were to come. The flavors opened up into blueberries, plum, huckleberries and finished with a touch of bacon fat.

Because of its cool blue fruit, this Syrah will be very easy to pair with a wide range of dishes from mac and cheese to chili and hamburgers. We had it one night with leftover chicken chili and it was excellent, but it really shone with some barbecued ribs. The meatiness of the pork picked up that bacon fat taste in the finish, and the pepper was very nice with the spices that were used.

Thanks to Erin and Michelle for such a fun theme. It led me to a wine that I may not have bought otherwise--and am I glad I did. I don't have lots of room in my cellar for multiple bottles of the same wine, since I'm always hunting for something new to taste and write about here on the blog. This is one of the few bottles I've had in the past few years that I knew I wanted to have again--and again. Somehow, somewhere, I need to find some room for a few more bottles!


Anonymous said...

yum! I love a good syrah, and I'm going to pop by K&L and pick one up tonight.

Lo said...

That syrah sounds like a fab find -- and just in time for summer grilling, which we've really just begun in earnest.

Will have to see if we can locate a few bottles around these parts!

Catherine Granger said...

Cool, I chose the same wine: WBW #47: A Spicerack Sonoma Syrah Brought To You By The Letter S

Anonymous said...

That's way more S's than I used. I wrote about Scholium Project, a California cult wine that rocked my face off with fruit and salt!

Dr. Debs said...

Good luck, Thea and Lo, with the Spicerack, and let me know what you think. Catherine and I definitely shared many of the same opinions on the wine, so I think you're in for a treat. Dale, Scholium is a great wine--but a little above my pay grade!