2013 Eric Kent Russian River Valley Syrah (Previously $35)

SKU #1268800 Connoisseurs Guide

 *One Star* Solidly Syrah in both scent and taste with the accent on potency more than on polish, the third of Eric Kent's 2013 Syrahs is a rich and weighty wine that very much fits its maker's mold. Its initially open and accessible, blackberry flavors run afoul of toughening astringency at the end, but it is not at all hard to taste continuous fruit through its ample tannins. Drink it now with rustic stews if politeness is not requisite, or stash it way for another four or five years if it is.  (11/2016)

K&L Notes

Winemaker Kent Humphrey is a former advertising copywriter who's now a mad man of wine, making Syrah, Pinot and Chardonnay deep in the Copain Custom Crush facility in a nondescript industrial area of Sonoma County. But there's artistry in the bottle, as well as on the bottle: each new release is labeled with a unique, commissioned painting. The 2013 RRV Syrah displays the work of photographer Robert Stewart. The winery's vintage note: "Encouraged by the keen response to last year’s Barrel Climber Syrah, we’ve decided to add a Russian River Valley Syrah to our Permanent Collection! Sourced once again primarily from Atoosa’s Vineyard in the cool Russian River Valley, what started as an experiment for us now gains fulltime status with the 2013 vintage. Much like the 2012 Barrel Climber Syrah, the color is an inky electric purple in the glass, a result of the extremely long and languid season out at Atoosa’s. Syrah grapes take their sweet time in this climate and while these are often the last grapes we harvest (think Halloween!), the extended hang-time allows slow and complete maturation of the fruit at relatively modest alcohol levels. Ample layers of brooding cassis and framboise at the forefront with echoes of lavender on the back end, all wrapped in a savory, peppery framework make for tremendous depth and an undeniably fun wine to drink!"

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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:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.8