Son Alec and Viv are home, visiting from NYC. We grilled filet steaks with baked potatoes and opened this Lewis Cellars Ethan's Syrah. Our normal go-to wine with Alec is his signature namesake Alec's Blend from Lewis. Trolling the cellar, adjacent to the Alec's blend rack was the column of Ethan's so he pulled that to introduce this Lewis label, another of our favorites.
Lewis Cellars are one of our favorite Napa producers with their 'L' branding and labels named for their grandkids, and their Indiana 500 racer heritage.
Founded in Oakville, Napa Valley, in 1992 by Debbie and Randy Lewis, they own no vineyards but source their grapes from contract growers around the region from Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oak Knoll, and Carneros in Napa Valley to the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. The Oak Knoll estate produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Lewis produce 9,000 cases annually. Paul Hobbs was their original winemaker, but today the winemaker is Brian Mox.
Despite not owning their own vineyard sources, they hold long-term contracts so they have developed a top reputation as California wine writer James Laube cites "all the estate’s wines are of unusually high quality.”
Indeed, Lewis Napa Valley Cabernet 2013 was the Wine Spectator #1 Wine of the Year in 2016. That vintage also received a 100 point Robert Parker rating, the first wine to accomplish both accolades in the same year
Our visit and private tasting at the Lewis Estate Chateau was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2017.
Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Ethan's Syrah 2009
Like Alec's Blend, this is named for one of Lewis' grandsons. Unlike Alec's Blend, it is 100% Napa Valley Syrah.
This is bold, fruit forward and concentrated in the full throttle style that we love.
This release got 94 points from Wine Spectator. Four hundred and seventy five cases were produced.
This is dark inky blackish purple colored, full-bodied, intense, concentrated, rich, briary black fruits accented by mineral, vanilla, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon spice leading to ripe but firm tannins that linger with the spice on the finish. This lacks finesse or polish as there is a slight edge to this that detracts a bit from the overall experience.
Ironically, according to our Cellartracker tasting notes, the last time we tasted this was a year ago to this day, on Father's Day weekend when I wrote, "At ten years, this is starting to show its age a bit with a slight bit of an edge and alcohol heat, hence deducting a point from my previous score. I attribute this to age although it could be a bottle variation but I doubt it."
As is so often the case, my tasting notes were consistent and I gave this the same score as earlier.
RM 92 points.