Sunday, May 13, 2012

Syrah Syrah - Mothers' Day Dinner Wine Selection

Syrah Syrah - Mothers' Day Dinner Wine Selection 

If you don't already know, Syrah is the same grape varietal as Shiraz. Mothers' Day family dinner gathering, Mom gets to choose her favorite wine (s). Ryan pulled from the cellar these two Shiraz's for L - d' Arenberg 'The Dead Arm' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 and Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005. For this momentus holiday gathering of four generations of family - Great-Grandmother Evelyn, Grandmother Linda, Daughter Erin, and Granddaughter Lucy, we dined at our favorite Italian trattoria, Angeli's Italian Restaurant and took our BYOB wines.We were also celebrating son Alec returning home from college graduation.

d' Arenberg 'The Dead Arm' McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003 -  RP Review - ‘One of this estate’s flagship wines, the 2003 The Dead Arm Shiraz appears to be better than the 2002. A deeper, richer, fuller-bodied offering that spent time in equal parts French and American oak, it possesses an opaque purple colour, great intensity, and a fabulously sweet nose of blackberries, cassis, asphalt, earth, and oak. Powerful, super-concentrated, and obviously fashioned from low yields and old vines, this is classic McLaren Vale old vine Shiraz that should age nicely for 15+ years.’ RP Rating 95. 

My review - Reminiscent of the 94/95 Dead Arms reflecting a distinctive blueberry taste along with that sweet oak, blackberry and slight earthy smoke, but smooth and polished - more approachable than some of the overpowering over-ripe fruit bombs coming out of Australia recently. - RM - Dark full bodied, concentrated forward ripe black fruits, hint of cassis, raisin, slight tar firm tannin finish. RM 92 points.

This wine derives its odd name from the results of a louse that hit the region early in the last century and destroyed many of the vines. Many producers plowed the affected vines under and replanted. d'Arenberg cultivated their vines which survived however with only one remaining shoot having sacrificed the other main shoot, the 'Dead Arm'. The results were that the remaining vines produced rich extracted fruits from the diminished reduced yields of the surviving grapes benefiting from the nutrients of the full remaining root structure.

We first discovered this wine back in1994 at a dinner with AJ out in Silicon Valley. I still recall the bold, forward, full bodied, ripe black and blue berry fruits of that wine that characterizes Dead Arm wines to this day - worthy of our Mother's Day family dinner selection.

Flinders Run, Southern Flinders Ranges, Baroota, Australia, Shiraz 2005 - One of our absolute favorite wines with a huge QPR (Quality Price Ratio). Dark inky colour - full bodied, elegant rich thick chewy - symphony of flavors of sweet currant, ripe plum, red raspberry, blueberry, a layer of mocha accented by hints of pepper, vanilla, and spice, and a lingering essence of creme brulee' and cedar on the long full soft finish. Now seven years old with a bit of age, this wine is smoother, more polished and more approachable than earlier tastings when young.

RM 94 points. 

We first discovered this wine down in central Illinois wineshop Friar Tuck's. We bought some and brought it home and loved it. We bought case quantities from Southern Hemisphere Wines in SoCal. Eventually Binny's featured this wine and we bought it all and are fortunate to have a supply as we continue to enjoy this wine which is improving with age!

Two bold and hearty Australian shiraz's - perfect complement to hearty Italian dinner fare on a special day and family gathering.