2006 Alban "Lorraine" Edna Valley Syrah

SKU #1108102 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Named after his raven-haired Irish wife, the 2006 Syrah Lorraine, which comes from more sandy soils, is another prodigious effort. Like all of these wines, it is a remarkable wine of extraordinary intensity, with a stunning nose of blueberries, bacon fat, camphor, and even darker blackberries, along with unreal minerality and definition for a wine of this size and power. Full-bodied, with profound intensity of flavor as well as purity, this is another wine that spent nearly three and a half years in barrel prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. (RP)  (8/2010)

97 points Wine Spectator

 Combines dark, powerful blackberry, wild berry, plum and black licorice flavors on a seamless texture. Full-bodied, with floral, spicy, peppery aromas that end up gliding across the palate. Drink now through 2024.  (2/2011)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky purple. Knockout bouquet offers a kaleidoscopic array of red and dark berry and floral scents, with powerful complicating notes of incense, allspice, patchouli and white pepper. A dense, strikingly concentrated but lively wine that reaches every corner of the palate with sweet black raspberry, boysenberry liqueur and floral pastille flavors. Turns spicier with air, picking up an intriguing spicecake quality that carries through the focused, endless finish. This wine's blend of depth, power and energy is really something; you could actually drink it now, but it really deserves cellaring.  (11/2010)

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Price: $299.99

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Monterey/Carmel Valley

- These heavily planted regions on either side of the vast Salinas Valley account for much of the mass-produced, commercial wine sold in supermarkets nationwide. In the hills, however, and in sub-AVAs like Chalone and Santa Lucia Highlands, quality is much higher. Pinot noir and chardonnay look to be particularly promising.