The Fifty Best's Syrah-Shiraz Tasting of 2020


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of recently released syrah-shiraz wines with 12 members of our wine judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the wines were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles. Only ice water and crusty white peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The appellations and countries are identified for each brand. Prices indicated do not include tax.



Mollydooker Velvet Glove
McLaren Vale Shiraz 2017

(Australia)   $185

This wine was made from sustainably-grown grapes that following barrel fermentation were aged in 100% new American oak before bottling.

Aroma: Blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry, cassis, currant, black cherry, peach, banana, apple, vanilla, white chocolate, violets, dried herbs, coffee grinds, espresso, sweet cinnamon, oak, lovely French style, rich.

Palate: Plum, black plum, super concentrated plum, prunes, blackberry, blueberry, peaches, sweet/sour apples, green peppercorn, dark chocolate, smoky, oak, port like.

Finish: Warm berries, fruitcake, fruity, coffee, leather, tannins, tar, smoky, big, rich.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Mollydooker Velvet Glove McLaren Vale Shiraz



Longboard 2016
Russian River Valley Syrah

(Healdsburg, California)   $38

This wine was made from 99% Syrah with the addition of very small amounts of Geenache, Carignan, Malbec and Petite Sirah. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in a combination of Bordeaux and Burgundy French oak and bottle unfined and unfiltered.

Aroma: Luxardo cherry, concentrated plum, blackberry, blueberry, dried blackberry, currant, tobacco leaf, white pepper, mocha, espresso, leather, wet pavement, stone.

Palate: Cherry, sweet sour cherry, plums, blueberry, currant, Sweet Tarts, vanilla, violet, dry herbs, mint, clove, pepper, leather, tobacco, smoke.

Finish: Blackberry, cassis, cornucopia, apple, dried fruit, soft vanilla, tannic, earthy, smoky, rich.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Longboard Russian River Valley Syrah

Hacienda Zorita Syrah 2016
Unamuno Vineyard

(Arribes del Duero Natural Reserve, Spain)

This wine was fashioned form 100% hand-picked Syrah grapes that following fermentation were aged for 15 months in a combination of French and American oak prior to bottling.

Aroma: Boysenberry, Dr. Pepper, Coca Cola, vanilla, tobacco, spice, pepper, mineral, wet stone, earthy, musty, firecracker, smoke.

Palate: Red plums, plummy, jam, prune, cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, berries, red currants, brown sugar, toffee, licorice, eucalyptus, tobacco, tannic, burnt wood, oak, lots of flavor.

Finish: Blackberries, jammy, violets, tea, cigar box, smoky, French style.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Hacienda Zorita Syrah Unamuno Vineyard


Lorenzi Estate Syrah 2016
Los Cojones Block

(Temecula Valley, California)   $55

Made from a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Grenache, this wine was fermented in French oak and aged in French oak (75% new) for 24 months and then bottle-aged for 14 months prior to release.

Aroma: Bags of plums, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, cassis, espresso, rye, burnt spice, tobacco, melba toast, earthy.

Palate: Layers of plum, plummy, rich black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, cocoa, mint, green peppercorn, spice, tannins, cream, silk.

Finish: Plum jam, dark berries, strawberry, violets, sage, leather, tannic, smoke, soft, balanced.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Lorenzi Estate Syrah Los Cojones Block


Bulletin Place Shiraz 2018

(Australia) $13

This wine was made from primarily Shiraz (89%) some Chambourcin and a touch Cabernet Sauvignon, grown in South Eastern Australia. Following harvest, the grapes were fermented in stainless steel for 10 days and aged in stainless steel for four months before bottling.

Aroma: Raspberries, acai berry, herbs, black licorice, coffee grinds, minerals, flint, earthy, tobacco, dried meats, smoke, smoky, oak, dry grass, vibrant.

Palate: Sweet spicy cherry, strawberry, blueberry, black currant, cassis, prunes, dark stone fruit, ripe fruit, violets, licorice, dark chocolate, espresso, cigar box, smoky, oak, rich & creamy.

Finish: Cherry tart, blackberry pie, dried cranberry, raisin, dark chocolate, leathery, wood, oak, it all comes together, flavorful, smooth, elegant.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Bulletin Place Shiraz

Les Crêtes Syrah 2016
(Valle d’Aosta DOP, Italy) $25

This 100% Syrah was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 9 months in French Oak before bottling.

Aroma: Boysenberry, blackberry, blueberry, new crayons, leather, butter, dried straw, cork, chalk, mineral, pepper, black pepper, earthy, oak.

Palate: Cherry, plums, red plum, strawberry, blueberry, black currant, cranberry, tart apple, violets, green peppercorn, spicy, slight tannin, mild oak, rich, ethereal.

Finish: Black raspberry, cranberry, apricot, lemon, lemon zest, pepper, leather, tar, musty, funky.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Les Crêtes Syrah




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