Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG April 13th tasting (4/5): Twixt Old World and New

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Syrah 2009, Syrocco, Domaine des Ouleb Thaleb ($20.60, 11375561)
A joint venture between Crozes-Hermitage-based winemaker Alain Graillot and Morocco’s largest wine producer, Thalvin. This 100% young-vine Syrah is made with grapes grown mainly in vineyards near the winery, which is located between Rabat and Casablanca and about 40 km inland from Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The vineyards are manually weeded and ploughed and no herbicides and fungicides are used. In 2009, the grapes were fully destemmed and fermented in closed concrete vats with daily pump-overs. Total maceration time was ten days. The wine then spent seven and a half months in tanks followed by seven and half months in French oak barrels (50% new, 50% second vintage). Lightly filtered before bottling. 13.5% ABV.
Rich, berries, smoke, sweat, hint of animale, eventually cola. Velvety and liqueur-ish, the ripe almost sweet fruit saved from bombdom by the tonic acidity, soft if puckery tannins and savoury edge. Slow-fade finish. Not as pure, complex or deep as Graillot’s Rhône Syrahs but enjoyable in its own right. The best wine from this project to date. (Buy again? Sure.)

Syrah 2010, No. 2, Central Victoria, Graillot Australia ($41.50, 11844815)
A joint venture between Alain Graillot and Bidbendum’s Robert Walters. Two cuvées are made – this second wine and the flagship Graillot Syrah – and 2010 was the first vintage of each. Both are 100% Syrah from organically farmed (though not certified as such) ten-year-old vines. The winemaking is identical for both cuvées: mostly destemmed but about 10% whole bunches; fermented in small open tanks with native yeasts; aged in a mix of old and new oak barrels. The batches for the cuvées are selected on a barrel by barrel basis and, as it turned out, in 2010 the oakiest batches went into the second wine (still only about 10% new oak). Screwcapped. 13% ABV.
“Wet rubber-clad dog” was one taster’s description of the initially dominant smell (probably related to screwed-up screwcapping). I also got plum, bacon, pepper and tomato sauce. Rich, dense and intense but still more Syrah- than Shiraz-like. The ripe fruit is structured with round tannins and welcome acidity. A minerally substrate grounds and deepens the wine. Long finish with faint chocolate notes. Ready to go. (Buy again? Not at the current asking price.)

Syrah 2009, Le Pousseur, Central Coast, Bonny Doon ($26.80, 10961016)
100% Syrah made from purchased grapes grown in three Central Coast vineyards. Each vineyard’s production is manually harvested and fermented separately. Indigenous yeasts. Maturation in French oak barrels. Both tartaric acid and sulphur dioxide are added. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV.
Rich and savoury nose: red meat, leather, dusty minerals, plum, background oak and a whiff of alcohol. Plush yet fluid. Full of ripe fruit but not a bomb. Fine tannins and juicy acidity. It all adds up to a vin plaisir, albeit a slightly pricey one. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Syrah 2009, Les Côtes de l’Ouest, California, Terre Rouge ($23.20, 00897124)
98% Syrah, about 60% coming from a Sierra foothills vineyard and the rest from various mountain sites, and 2% Viognier. The grapes were lightly crushed, co-fermented in large tanks with regular pump-overs. Matured 17 months in French oak barrels (20% new). 14.5% ABV.
Herbs, earth, blackberry liqueur with a red meat note. Pure and, despite the high alcohol, balanced. There’s a certain depth of flavour (though not of structure), a vein of slatey minerals and a clean, lightly astringent finish. The most Rhône-ish of the bunch. If this were under $20, it’d be a certifiable QPR winner. (Buy again? Sure.)

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Written by carswell

June 4, 2013 at 14:49

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