Firefly Ridge Syrah 2011

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)
Varietal: Syrah
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Price: $15.99

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.

Trader Joe’s Coastal Syrah 2011

Here is my second posting from the Trader Joe’s booty.  I’m thinking that the Trader Joe’s posts might become a series interwoven within my other wine experiences. What do you think?  Should I explore more of the offerings from one retailer?  Let me know your thoughts on that.

Anyway, this time I decided to try one of Trader Joe’s private label wines – the Coastal Syrah.

Winemaker: Castoro Cellars for Trader Joe’s
Wine: Trader Joe’s Coastal Syrah
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: Central Coast, California
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  This wine is a very dark purple color.  I mean truly pur-PUHL.  On the nose I found lots of blackberry and hints of violets.  It is a medium-bodied wine with no tannins to speak of.  For me it presented copious amounts of darker berry flavors (blackberry and ripe strawberry).  It also had decent acidity with pepper and green herbaceous notes on the finish.  It is a fairly simple wine considering the amount of complexity that can be coaxed from this varietal.  But it is pleasant to drink!

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.