I think there are lots of reasons for liking a wine. Sometimes it’s because the wine proves the perfect exemplar of what you understand that particular wine should be. Other times wines that give me something completely unexpected can be enthralling. Now I’m not happy with just anything unexpected — like the white I had at one local wine fair that literally tasted like kerosene. That was unexpected, but not welcome. lol Admittedly, Syrah can be many things, depending on the climate and soil, etc. Even so, this Syrah from Firefly Ridge struck me as – forgive the golf analogy – pretty much down the middle of the fairway.
Winemaker: Firefly Ridge (a Safeway private label)
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Notes: In the glass it was very dark garnet … very dark. On the nose I found dark fruit, pepper, and dirt. It was a soft medium-bodied selection. Initially I tasted loads of cherry, a hint of plum, gobs of pepper, tea, and floral notes including a soapy lavender on the finish. As it breathed, the cherry deepened into more of a plum with currant notes and the pepper decreased slightly. At the same time the wine picked up a little bit of earth (or maybe it was just able to get through). I suppose the tannins were the least exemplary facet in this wine – they were on the modest side. But I found they still give a pleasant little bite near the end. Alcohol is at 12.5%, and acidity is fine. I thought this was a nicely balanced offering from Firefly Ridge. There is enough structure to allow it to pair well with food or cellar just a bit. It will probably do well with many dishes, but what comes to my mind are duck or Moo Shu Pork.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.