I was sent four bottles of Tin Barn Vineyards Syrah, specifically from the Coryelle Fields Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast, for my sampling pleasure. As it was an unreasonably (yes, I meant to say that…also, unseasonably) warm summer in Seattle, I waited until there was a bit of a chill in the air that would permit me to do these wines justice.
The Syrahs at my disposal were from the 2011, 2010, 2006, and 2003 vintages. They all changed quite dramatically after opening and really benefited from decanting. I did a double-decant on all four wines. Technique: Have your favorite glass receptacle at the ready. Pull the cork then turn the bottle upside down and glug straight into the decanter, with extreme prejudice. Then (carefully) pour the contents of the decanter back into the bottle. (Use a funnel if you’re not an incorrigible wine parlor trick show-off like me.) Voila, you have double-decanted. (Hero.)
Here are my thoughts on each bottle:
2011: Rich, sappy, spicy. Baking chocolate notes. The most full-throttle of the four, probably because it’s the youngest. (Sorta duh, but worth mentioning.)
2010: What a difference a year makes. More balanced and earthy. Quite lively!
2006: Boom. This wine has developed some wonderful secondary characteristics. Like a green olive wearing tiny leather chaps, just off its well-lathered horse. There’s also a nice amount of fruit on the finish of this Syrah for balance. It’s in a great spot. Classic aged Syrah, well-done. Possibly worth of a Clive Coates-ian “Very find indeed.” (Coates is a famous Master of Wine and Burgundy guru. And I’m fond of his very British use of “indeed”.)
2003: Minty. Still lots of freshness here. No signs of getting tired; I was surprised at how well this showed at 12 years past the vintage.
It’s really cool to undertake a tasting exercise like this. It tickles my wine geek receptors something fierce. Though the ability of California Syrah to age was something I had never considered, tasting through four vintages from the same vineyard and winery provided vivid snapshots. And now I can put together a small mental album I’ll tuck away into the wine part of my mind for the next time I contemplate Sonoma Coast Syrahs.
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