2007 Saxon Brown "Flora Ranch" Chalk Hill Syrah

SKU #1086232 93 points Wine Spectator

 A muscular style, dense and concentrated, with layers of mocha, espresso, ginger, fruitcake, date and dried berry flavors that fan out. Full-bodied, chewy and concentrated. Long and persistent. Best from 2010 through 2015. 245 cases made.  (2/2010)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The most hedonistic and plush wine of the group is the 2007 Syrah Flora Ranch. This wine has an opaque ruby/purple color and a big, sweet kiss of licorice and black cherry liqueur intermixed with chocolate and blackberries. A hint of a floral/forest floor note adds to the complexity, but in the mouth it is silky smooth, with a velvety, voluptuous texture, and no hard edges. This is a real head-turner and quite seductive. Drink it over the next 5 years. I have had these wines year in and year out, and again Saxon Brown has turned out three outstanding efforts. Moreover, their prices are not out of line, especially at this level of quality.  (8/2009)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 Full of zesty, sweet cherry flavor up front, this turns spicy and smoky in the finish, ending on rich tannin. It's foresty cool, a lively red-fruited syrah for steak frites.  (4/2011)

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Price: $29.99
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By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/21/2012 | Send Email
For the last few vintages I’ve been completely infatuated with the Syrah bottlings from Jeff Gaffner at Saxon Brown. Don’t get me wrong his other wines are pretty darn good as well, but the Syrahs stand out as beacons in a sea of mediocre, and quite honestly, frequently overpriced Syrah. There is something about the life in a bottle of Saxon Brown Syrah that is rarely matched. Other people can match Jeff’s intensity of flavor but have to extract so much out of the fruit that it ruins the texture of the wine. Rosemary, loam, savory and fresh blackberries combine on the nose with an over all gamey feel. From the moment this hit my lips I was truly excited. Fruit, spice, meat, herbaceousness this wine hit on all the flavor ranges I love in Syrah all the while keeping completely away from the jammy, blown out, glycerin driven qualities that so many Syrahs depend on today. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

Additional Information:



- 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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5