Arnot-Roberts 2013 Syrah North Coast

I have to admit that it’s been kind of tough to get into my red wines lately. It’s been hot. Too hot for reds and they’ve bided their time in my little wine fridge while I’ve been gulping down white and rosé waiting for the weather to cool.

I finally decided to give a red wine some attention the other day when the weather cooled a bit and I chose the Arnot-Roberts 2013 North Coast Syrah. It’s a wine that’s made from some of the top Syrah vineyards in the state, including La Cruz, Baker Lane, Clary Ranch, Marietta, Griffin’s Lair, and even some fruit from the Que Syrah vineyard, Arnot-Roberts recent acquisition near Occidental, that some say is the coolest Syrah site in the state.

arnot-roberts 2013 syrah

Talk about minerality in red wine, this Syrah has it in spades. It’s bright (it almost vibrates with energy), it’s fresh and it’s delicious. My only complaint is that its a little one-dimensional. It’s all citrussy-bright plum and gravel but little in the way of deep flavors. Being a 2013 might just mean that the wine needs some time to develop. There’s a hint of smokiness and pepper on the nose to counteract all those primary fruit flavors but not much else at the moment.

I like this wine though and I’d probably buy a lot of it if it wasn’t $40. It’s reminiscent of a good St. Joseph, many of which are in that price range, so maybe it’s priced right where you’d expect. In fact, if you’re a lover of St. Joseph Syrah this might be just the wine for you. No new oak, just pure, energetic flavors of good Syrah. As I’m writing, I think I’m talking myself into liking the wine more because, in comparison to the over-oaked Syrah that’s so prevalent, this is actually a great example of what California can (and should) do with Syrah. I just wish it had a little more weight to it. It’s kind of like the new Beirut album, fresh and fun but without a whole lot of substance. And that’s okay because sometimes that’s exactly what you want.

Sólosyrah: Comparing Syrah and Indie Rock Since September of 2015

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Radio-Coteau 2005 Las Colinas Sonoma Coast Syrah

radio coteau
I’ve been wanting to try one of these Radio Coteau, Las Colinas Syrahs for quite a while, but I have to admit that the $60 price tag kind of scared me off.  So, when my sister got me one as a gift for my birthday it was truly a happy day.

There was a catch though. I’d always heard these were classically cool-climate Syrahs and the ABV of 14.7% on the 2005 vintage made me a little skeptical.  Well, I’m happy to report that even though the wine carried a tad higher alcohol than I usually look for, it displayed all the cool-climate character that I love so much.

The wine:  Savory plum, gravel, and black olive on the nose.  On the palate, there’s fresh blackberry and also savory flavors that evoke an umami quality.  The finish is all sweet tannins, this is a wine that’s ready to drink and a pleasure to have gotten to try.

Radio Coteau is a small winery located in Sebastapol. They buy fruit from various Sonoma Coast vineyards and also have an estate vineyard near Occidental.  Las Colinas Syrah, blending fruit from various Syrah vineyards around the Sonoma Coast, is a beautiful expression of cool-climate Syrah and one that I’ll keep an eye on for future vintages.  If your pocketbook can handle it, it’s a wine worth checking out.