Juan’s wine picks: 2008 Syrah

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* Juan Sanchez, owner of La Dernière Goutte and Laura pick out some wines that are drinking especially well. Here are the selections. Check out previous selections here.

In the interest of the goose we roasted for Thanksgiving and as a little tip-of-the-cap to our founding father, and fellow syrah lover, Thomas Jefferson (no we aren’t tea-baggers!) we decided to have a tasting of 2008 syrah. The Rhône is (supposedly) the birth place of syrah, though there are now many incarnations of it including it’s dark-skinned Australian sibling, shiraz. Shiraz and syrah are typically quite concentrated and full-bodied wines, often being used in blends to provide some body. Tasting three syrahs from the Rhône was a nice lesson in the versatility of the fruit which can seem so standard.

Our first taste was from Domaine Jamet which is in the epicenter of Côte-Rôtie country. While they are best known for their Côte-Rôtie, we went for their entry-level Côtes du Rhône and were not disappointed. Well, I take that back- I was very disappointed in the label. Have you ever seen an uglier label? I was almost embarrassed to serve it. But beyond the offensive facade is a lively syrah. We were all surprised by it’s initial sharpness but warmed up with a few swirls. Perhaps it was because of the holiday, but my initial thought was cranberry! What an appropriate pairing.

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Then we moved on to La Rosine from Domaine Michel Ogier. What a nice transition. This was definitely a step in the heavier direction and my favorite of the three. This syrah picks up on leathery notes and rich berries that I typically associate with he grape. Ripe and fruity and perfect with all of the earthy and savory flavors we had at the table- especially the wild rice and mushroom stuffing.

The last syrah was a rich and delicious Saint-Joseph from Domaine Pierre Gonon. The heartiest of the bunch and a perfect way to finish our feast. Smooth, heavy and full of deep, dark fruit, this syrah left us all warm and full of gratitude for such lovely friends, food and wine! Happy belated Thanksgiving all!

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