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New World Syrah 2018

New World Syrah - 2018

The Fifty Best New World Syrah Tasting of 2018


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 9 recent release New World syrah wines with 14 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 wine glasses from new sealed bottles and served at room temperature. Only ice water and 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 based on 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.


C.C. Jentsch Cellars 2015 Syrah
(Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada) $32

Following fermentation over 8 days, this wine (made of 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier) was aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels prior to bottling.

Aroma: Black cherry, boysenberry, slightly tart blueberry, overripe strawberries, young fresh fruit, mild cherry, slightly peppery dark grape, chocolate, nougat, eucalyptus, mint, spearmint, tobacco, peat, fresh cut cedar, oak, clean, nicely done.
Palate: Black cherry, sweet cherries, cherry, cassis, full juicy black fruit, jammy, apricot, canella, nutmeg, complex spice, pleasant mint, tobacco, light chewing tobacco, sherry, cured meat, leather, funky, musty oak, good acidity, mild and then tannic burst, well-balanced, clean, unusual.
Finish: Sweet plum, earthy black cherries, cassis, vanilla, chocolate, baking spice, pepper, white pepper, woody, oak, chewy, amaro digestif, good energy.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah

Cakebread Cellars 2015 Syrah
(Napa, Valley, CA) $57

This wine was made from grapes (98% Syrah, 2% Grenache) that were hand-harvested from Suscol Springs Vineyard. Following fermentation in small open-top fermenters, the wine was aged in French oak (50% new) for 15 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Dark cherry, boysenberry, plums, peach, honey, violet, floral, herbal, cloves, pepper, tobacco, musk, leather, quinine, mineral, earth.
Palate: Tangy cherry, blackberries, blueberries, cassis, stewed cranberry, cranberry sauce, raspberry pie, chocolate, cocoa, black licorice, anise, mint, nutmeg, spice, pepper, musty, leather, super interesting.
Finish: Blueberries, cassis, grape soda, cake sugar, nutmeg, olive, briny, strong tannins, structured, balance, good finish, starts sharp then mellows, delicious.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Cakebread Cellars Syrah


Skinner Vineyards
2014 Syrah El Dorado Estate Grown

(El Dorado County, CA) $26

Following fermentation, this wine – made from a blend (91% Syrah, 6% Viognier and 3% Mouvedre, Grenache and Petite Sirah) – spent 22 months in French oak barrels (50% new) before bottling.

Aroma: Cherries, plum, dark currants, cooked raspberries, stewed strawberry, roasted coconut, brioche, chocolate, roses, grass, herbal, almond, cinnamon, allspice, white pepper, Connecticut tobacco, earth, smoke, fresh sawed oak, mild cherry wood.
Palate: Raspberry, red and black berries, tart cherries, dark plums, chili-smoked cherry, vanilla, mint, very mild pepper, cherry pipe tobacco, earthy, oak, like Spanish tempranillo, strong tannins, well-balanced.
Finish: Sour cherry, faint blackberry, pepper, spicy, mild tobacco, leather, woody, oak, tannic, clean, flavorful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Skinner Vineyards Syrah El Dorado Estate Grown

Six Sigma Ranch
2014 Marianne's Reserve Syrah

(Lake County, CA) $45

Naturally farmed grapes for this 100% Syrah wine were harvested from the Diamond Mine Vineyard which sits at an elevation of 1,700 ft. above sea level and is noted for rocky, volcanic soil. Following a hot and fast fermentation, the wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 2 years then lightly filtered before bottling.

Aroma: Boysenberry, blackberry, deep blueberry, cassis, crisp bright fruit, spicy fruit, raisin, caramel, chocolate, white pepper, strong Maduro tobacco, leather, cherry-wood cabinets, light oak.
Palate: Cherry, plums, blueberries, briar fruit, sweet jammy blackberry, stewed berries, dried fruits, subtle honeycomb, vanilla, chocolate, violet, cherry pits, light bell pepper, pepper, mild tobacco, earthy, forest, cedar, tasty tannins, nice tannins, easy drinking.
Finish: Tart apricot, marshmallow, mineral, earthy, smoky, old oak, slightly tannic, soft, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Six Sigma Ranch Marianne's Reserve Syrah

Louis 57
2014 Open Champion Syrah

(Stellenbosch, So. Africa) $25

Following fermentation, this wine was aged in 225 litre French oak barrels before bottling.

Aroma: Ripe blueberry, big berry hits you in the face, lingonberry, red cherry, dark cherry, overripe dark plum, plummy, prune, apricot, citrus, vanilla, violet, dandelion greens, clove, peppery, leather, mulled wine.
Palate: Sweet cherry, blackberry, gentle blueberry, plum, prune, peat-smoked raspberry candy, mint, olives, mild white pepper, nutmeg, leather, smoky tobacco, minerality, crushed rocks, woody, tannic bite, nice acidity, bright, interesting.
Finish: Blackberry, tart cherries, fresh-cut arugula, mustard greens, peppery, spicy, dusty, charcoal, very chewy, big tannins.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Louis 57 Open Champion Syrah

2015 Rosella's Vineyard Syrah

(Santa Lucia Highlands, CA) $45

Following harvest, the juice spent an average of 30 days on the skins before being pressed to French oak barrels for 16 months of aging and was bottle unfiltered and unfined.

Aroma: Sweet blueberries, blueberry, black raspberry, dark berries, cherries, dark plum, cassis, rose petal jam, orange blossom, banana cream, butterscotch, chocolate, vanilla, marzipan, minty, spearmint gum, herbal, pepper, tobacco, leather, fresh oak.
Palate: Cherry, raspberry, cassis, big bold black fruit, jammy blackberry, cocoa, vanilla bean, birthday cake, licorice, mint, clove, olive, mild pepper, tobacco, funky, smoky, mild oak, good balance of tannins and acidity.
Finish: Raspberry, sour cherry, brown sugar, cooked butter, earthy, smoky, woody, cedar, nice.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

ROAR Rosella's Vineyard Syrah

Skinner Vineyards
2015 Syrah El Dorado

(El Dorado County, CA) $26

This wine was made from a blend of 88% Syrah, 10% Grenache 1% Viognier and 1% Mouvedre. Following fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak barrels (24% new, 76% neutral) for 23 months prior to bottling.

Aroma: Black cherry, dark cherry, currants, crisp fresh blackberries, boysenberry, briar fruit, freshly cut ripe green apple, leather, tobacco, flint, wood, oak.
Palate: Blackberries, ripe berries, black cherry, currants, plums, brambly, stewed cherries, dark chocolate, vanilla, citrus, herbal, mint, clove, light pepper, funky, musty, mild oak, easy to drink.
Finish: Dark cherry, very nice fruit, cherry saltwater taffy, pepper, arugula, bitter canella, oak, cedar, smoky, lightly chewy, balanced, smooth, gentle.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Skinner Vineyards Syrah El Dorado


Monte de Oro Vineyard
2012 Syrah Reserve Estate Grown

(Temecula, CA) $80

Following fermentation, this 100% Syrah wine was aged in oak barrels (80% new French oak, 20% neutral oak) for 42 months before to bottling, with another 12 months of bottle aging prior to release.

Aroma: Blackberry, big black cherry, candied black currant fruit, smoked molasses, vanilla, toast, bread dough, herbal, strongly-brewed tea, mint, licorice, coffee, tobacco, peppery, olive, brine, minerals.
Palate: Plum, rich plummy fruit, balanced blueberry and blackberry, fruit bomb, strawberry taffy, vanilla, black onion seed, fenugreek, pepper, smooth, really tasty.
Finish: Sweet cherries, dried fruit, black onion seed, rye seed, soft tannins, big and blousy, flavorful.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Monte de Oro Vineyard Syrah Reserve

Robert Ramsay Cellars
2014 Columbia Valley Syrah

(Columbia Valley, WA) $35

This wine was made from 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier harvested from 3 different vineyards (Dinnen, Phinny Hill and McKinley Springs).

Aroma: Dark cherry, black currant, boysenberry, plum, prune, roasted figs, candied bramble berry, violet, fresh grass, tobacco leaves, mild tobacco, light earthy minerals, sherry, mild oak, pleasant.
Palate: Earthy black cherries, sour cherry, nicely balanced ripe blackberries and red plum, cooked blueberries, stewed strawberry with a hint of peppercorn, spicy fruit, cassis, chocolate, vanilla, baking spice, mint, mineral, light funkiness, earthy, smoky, mild oak, decent grip.
Finish: Blackberry, plum skin, cassis, light honeydew melon, bitter greens, mild pepper, nutmeg, leather, cigar box, tannic, slight minerality, smooth, tasty.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Robert Ramsay Cellars Columbia Valley Syrah





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