The five best California Syrahs I had in 2013.

The Piedrasassi Syrah is one of my favorite Syrahs, a surprising wine because it’s so cool-climate yet made in Central California which in recent history has been a hot bed of HOT wines.  This is a great example of how the Central Coast really can be as cool climate as it says it is.
Copain Halcon:  I almost forgot about this wine until I went through  posts from the last year.  I tasted it side-by-side with a wine from the same vineyard made by the owners of the vineyard.  I liked Wells Guthrie’s version better and it’s a great example of how early picking and whole cluster fermentation can make for dramatic differences in wines made with fruit from the same vineyard.
The 2011 Arnot Clary Ranch Syrah:  According to Jon Bonné in his New California Wine book, this is sort of a beginning point for cool-climate Syrah in California and it drew a dividing line between cool-climate and warm-climate afficionados.  Cool-climate fans loved it.  For me it’s a transcendent wine that shows what Syrah is capable of in the right environment.  I love this wine. With the wine at under 12% alcohol some might call the mid-palate a tad hollow but I love the elegance and pinot-like quality of this Syrah.
Drew Family 2009 Valenti Syrah: Again, a wine like the Arnot Roberts that definitely draws a line in the sand.  Some would say it’s picked too early and has an overly linear quality but in my opinion it’s just perfect.  I have a 2011 which I’m excited to taste in a few years when it fleshes out a bit.  Jason’s wine are meant to age.

The 2010 Fort Ross Seaview Syrah:  A wine that surprised me at the West of West wine event in Sebastopol. It’s a spectacular expression of cool-climate Syrah from the Sonoma Coast.

It’s been a great year tasting cool-climate Syrah and I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for 2014.

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