Tag Archives: Syrah

Tasting Note: Karma Vista Karisma

One of the first wineries I visited in the Lake Michigan Shore appellation, which is in southwestern Michigan between the Indiana border and Grand Rapids.  Karma Vista does great things with Syrah – this wine is a blend of 2/3 Merlot and 1/3 Syrah for a softer feel.

Karma Vista Karisma (2011) Lake Michigan Shore, Michigan – $20

Color: quite dark purple-black.

Aroma: a chewy, brambley nose with tar, licorice, and black fruit notes.

Taste: quite tannic, with plums, bing cherry, and spice.  Needs air!  Has some hard-candy notes as it opens up.

Big and quite tasty – the fruit quality in this is top-notch.  Recommended!



Tasting Note: Chateau Aeronautique Syrah

I’ve had 2 bottles of this kicking around since I visited their Jackson tasting room last year and had the occasion to enjoy one last week with a nice steak.

Chateau Aeronautique Syrah (2012) Michigan – $25

Color: medium to dark garnet red; a little brickish on the edges.

Aroma: spicy, with notes of tar, black plum, and pepper.

Taste: chewy up front with spice, then a big burst of plum on the mid-palate. Finishes medium-long with stewed fruit, jam, and tannin.

Quite respectable, and a nice wine for steak.


Robert Hall Syrah

A big bottle from Trader Joe’s – you don’t see a lot of domestic wines there that run more than $15. I’m drinking this with salad and smoked trout.

Robert Hall Syrah (2008) Paso Robles, California – $17

20140331_200539Color: Purple in the center, fading to purplish-red on the rim, and no visible sediment.

Aroma: big black fruit aromas, with some molasses and nutmeg underneath.

Taste: a little more toward the dried and stewed fruit end of the spectrum, with more of that nutmeg and a good dollop of tannin and oak towards the finish. Good acidity, not over-extracted, and 14.5% alcohol, so this is very versatile.

I like this a lot.  It’s varietally correct and balanced, and has a lot of depth. If you’re tired of Australian Shiraz that taste baked and burned, give this a shot. Recommended.


The Ruins Syrah

Another bottle of South African wine I picked up in the last few weeks. This is from Eilandia vineyard in Robertson region, which is limestone basin northeast of Capetown that has similar geology to the Bluegrass country of Kentucky and Tennessee. I’m drinking this with a spicy chicken masala from the slow-cooker.

The Ruins (2010) Robertson, South Africa – $12

Photo0377Color: a dark cherry-red.

Aroma: this has that characteristic South African stinky nose – what some call barnyard, or brettanomyces, or sulfurous. Underneath there are nice notes of sweet plum and cherry.

Taste: more acidity than I was expecting, with berry fruit in the midpalate, and significant minerality on the finish. This definitely needs food.

Unfortunately, this fades out quickly, and even with the food is thin and tart. Not recommended.

Wine Tasting Report: Arrow Centerville

Tried a few things at the Saturday afternoon tasting at Arrow.  Both quite nice.

Neyers Chardonnay (2011) Carneros, California – $30

Neyers uses all-natural winemaking, including indigenous yeast and malo-lactic bacteria. Their Chardonnay is made from a small-berried breed that results in creamier, lusher fruit.

Color: golden yellow.

Aroma: fresh apple, cream, and pineapple.

Taste: low oak and good acidity, this has a full body without being overwhelmed by heavy, flabby butter or oak. The taste profile is balanced between apple, pear, and some tropical fruit.

A well-made bottle, with a clean, fresh feel that is very well-suited to food.

Domaine Faury Vielles Vignes (2011) St. Joseph, France – $39

Domaine Faury is a Syrah producer from the Northern Rhone. The AOC rules allow up to 10% of the white Roussanne or Marsanne grapes to be added, but the Vielles Vignes (‘old vine’) bottling is pure Syrah. The wine region dates back centuries – Louis XII had a vineyard there, and the wine was mentioned in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. This is a fresh, fruity Syrah that sees just a touch of oak aging. It’s meant to be drunk young, while the neighboring wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie are aging.

Color: deep, full purple.

Aroma: big fresh fruit, including blueberry, with a hint of fruit liqueur.

Taste: quite French; this has loads of fruit, just a little bit of pepper, and medium tannins. You won’t mistake this for an Australian Shiraz.

Very good stuff.