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2001 IO "Ryan Road Vineyard" San Luis Obispo County Syrah

SKU #1002598 95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Three Stars* A dazzling young Syrah full of potential for growth yet so deep and outgoing now that it invites current drinking, this generous wine checks in as the best of the IO bunch and wins top honors among this month's featured wines. It is simply brimming with concentrated blackberry fruit and shows an intriguing note of blueberries and an edge of black pepper to its sweeping, oak-enriched aromas and dramatic, deeply filled flavors. If ever so slightly soft on the palate, it derives a good sense of grip from its tannic backbone, and three to six years of patient cellaring should yield a superbly balanced, wonderfully rounded Syrah of great distinction.  (7/2003)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 It’s approachable and drinkable now, with its flamboyant flavors of blackberries and herbs and lush, easy tannins, but is more balanced. Exciting in the mouth; the extremely long, spicy finish suggests aging through at least 2006.  (10/2003)

92 points Wine Spectator

 *Highly Recommended* Enormously complex and concentrated, deep and plush, with layers of currant, plum, mineral, spice and tobacco. Finishes in a long, luxuriant aftertaste. Drink now through 2010.  (2/2003)


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Price: $29.99
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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- 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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.