Tasted with Allan B over dinner at Grange Restaurant in Sacramento. This wine is from the Hudson Ranch Vineyard down in the Carneros Appellation in Napa Valley, my second such wine in as many weeks after just tasting the Ramey Hudson Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay at a gala dinner recently and posted on this blog - Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons flight and Carneros Chardonnay. The area with its cooler weather from fog rolling in from the nearby San Pablo Bay, the north end of San Francisco Bay is known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. What a remarkable find in this Syrah from the Hudson Ranch property just north of the Napa Sonoma Road above Domaine Chandon.
This is the most memorable and extraordinary Syrah I can recall ever having. While not as big or forward as some of the powerful, concentrated, forward fruit filled South Australian Shiraz' I have had, this cousin Syrah was the most complex and and polished. While Robert Parker describes the 2007 as “a huge, massive force, which combines chocolate, crème de cassis, blackberries", I get lost in his references to "soy, beef jerky, smoked game, and Peking duck". I agree with his characterization of "thick, juicy personality - full-bodied with amazing purity and a stunning finish.” I also concur and relate to Stephen Tanzer' comments, “Knockout aromas and flavors of black raspberry, mocha, animal fur, licorice and pepper. Suave on entry, then almost shockingly energetic in the middle, combining superb density with an almost magically light touch. This very pure wine delivers outstanding syrah character." Did he say animal fur? Okay, I don't get that either, but the rest is spot on.
While this is the most extraordinary Syrah I've ever had, certainly so for any from California, or the French Rhone River Valley for that matter, which includes Chateauneuf du Pape and surrounding appellations, it is also one of the most expensive I've had. At $150 per bottle retail price, its listed on the Grange Wine-list for $275, only a very select few Syrah or Shiraz wines are found at that price-point. Its an adventure and a memorable wine and is worth trying if you can find it, and afford it. It should be available since at that price and with 450 cases produced it should be around.
I concur with the above mentioned reviews and ratings of the others: