I don’t always drink Syrah but when I do… Here are the Five Best Syrahs I tasted in 2014

These are wines that I can’t get out of my head, they are all different in style but what unites them is that they’re memorable and well made for the style that they embrace. Here are the top five Syrahs that I drank in 2014.  Follow the links for the tasting notes from the original post.

The 2008 Barruol Cote Rotie: This is a Kermit Lynch selection from Louis Barruol’s St. Cosme label that really knocked my socks off, beautifully floral and elegant, just as a Cote Rotie should be. A great way to start off 2014 and a reminder to figure out a way to drink more Cote Rotie.

The 2009 Bonny Doon Bien Nacido X-block: Yes, there is something special about Bien Nacido, especially when the grapes are picked at modest ripeness and the wines are vinified in a way that lets the fruit shine. This is one of those wines. Elegance, intensity and fascinating floral aromas mixed with a black olive and pepper character.

The 2001 Copain Eaglepoint Syrah: This wine was a fun find for me. I liked Eaglepoint Syrah from an early stage in my Syrah-drinking career and I’ve wondered here before why there aren’t more wines made from Eaglepoint Syrah. This wine confirmed my belief that Syrah from Eaglepoint Vineyard can be delicious but I’ve yet to learn the full story behind its lack of visibility in today’s marketplace.

The 2012 Nellessen Wind Gap: If you want to experience a California Syrah that has its roots in France, this is a great one to try. The Nellessen is all black olive and pepper, bright plum and intense acidity. It’s a dead ringer for a Northern Rhone savory Syrah.

The 2010 Piedrasassi Rim Rock Syrah: This Syrah tops my list. It’s a beauty, meaty, rich, savory with lots of structure that makes it built for the cellar. It’s fun to drink now though, especially after a decant or some time open when the wine rounds out and really sings.

There’s one more wine from 2014 that I would be remiss to not mention. I had the pleasure of meeting up with some fellow Syrah geeks and one of the dinner participants brought a 2000 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot. It was one of the best Syrahs I’ve ever had. I didn’t take notes but simply enjoyed the wine with the fabulous food at the Palace Restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco. It matched well with everything, even a delicate prawn dish. I’m not including it in my top five because I didn’t record it here on the blog but it should be in the list and it was a privilege to try.

My Syrah resolutions for 2015 are to drink more Northern Rhone Syrah, I’m still a novice when it comes to this region and I probably will be until I actually get a chance to visit the region but in the meantime I’ll keep drinking, learning, and writing it all down on this little blog.  Thanks so much for reading.

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5 thoughts on “I don’t always drink Syrah but when I do… Here are the Five Best Syrahs I tasted in 2014

  1. Keep tasting dude! I had a Guigal and St. Cosme a year ago that rocked my world. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take notes at the dinners and don’t remember the vintage, but they both had a fair amount of bottle age on them. Time to testify – What I love about the best Northern Rhone style Syrah:
    1. Looks like the darkest black ink
    2. Has almost an oily feel in the mouth
    3. Has forest floor and a touch of savory bacon fat on the palate
    4. is fruit-forward
    5. IS spicy
    6. Has high acidity
    Look for the right vineyard locations for your best finds in the U.S.:
    Napa – Paras, Las Madres; Santa Barbara County – Paredon, Bien Nacido, Sawyer Lindquist (homage to Bob Lindquist); Mendocino – Brosseau. More Syrah is being grown in Mendocino – can’t wait to taste more of that wine! I need to explore Washington State too, but their Syrahs have become so damn expensive (Cayuse, etc.)! Can you recommend a quality, reasonably priced Washington Syrah?

    • I hope Cyrus will forgive my intervention here, but few month ago a visited a number of Woodinville wineries and two Syrah which I found excellent were 2012 Sparkman Cellars Ruckus Syrah Red Mountain and 2011 Guardian Cellars The Informant Syrah Wahluke Slope, both reasonable priced. Also while not pure Syrah, 2012 Mark Ryan NumbSkull GSM Walla Walla (58% Syrah) was quite delicious as well, and again, reasonable priced.

      • Of course I don’t mind Anatoli… I actually don’t have a lot of great recommendations yet from Washington, most of what I’ve had from there doesn’t quite fit my wheelhouse of “cool-climate” but I do have a couple of Gramercy Cellars Syrahs that I’m excited to get into soon. I’m searching for that perfect WA syrah too. I’ll let you all know when I find it. I’ll look into your recs Anatoli. Thanks!

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