Monday, April 12, 2010

**** $$$$ Arrowood Russian River Valley Syrah, Saralee's Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, CA, 2001 - Wine Tasting & Review

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Original Review, December 2007:

Despite having several years of age, in the glass, this Arrowood Russian River Valley Syrah from Saralee's Vineyard still looks like a young'un... it is opaque, dark magenta with purple highlights only at the edge. Not a hint of brick - a color highlight which might suggest that this came from the 2001 vintage.

Aromas pour from the glass. They are deep, sweet, rich - with menthol, caramel, chewy-old-licorice, a touch of diesel oil.

On the palate, you first notice a light, sandy sweetness - think beach sand made of very dilute sugar. It melts away to reveal the sweet syrah fruit, which coats your mouth with red cherry and blackberry highlights. A little bit of acid, a little bit of sweetness. The tannins are there, too, now modestly hiding in the background. They provide the lengthy, even finish that holds til your next sip. Even a touch of leafy forest floor as the finish fades.

Overall, outstanding power with balance. I'd stay with this wine for an evening. So that's four stars. Can age well beyond its current six years.

Robert Parker gave this a whopping 93 points in Wine Advocate, writing, "The 2001 Syrah Saralee’s Vineyard is an unfined/unfiltered blend of 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier. The wine exhibits an exotic perfume of lychee nuts intermixed with blackberry liqueur, cassis, licorice, smoke, and melted asphalt. A full-bodied, layered, hedonistic as well as intellectual turn-on, it should be consumed over the next 7-8 years."

Updated review, about two years later, April, 2010:  The purple highlights at the edge of the glass have finally taken on a hint of brick.  Aromas now are muddy red, frankly just bordering on overripe.  Still a unique, varied palate... a dark, fruited sandiness is still there.  Red fruits now come wrapped in charcoal and sweet smoke; lots of layers.  Still one to stay with for an evening.  No need to age further.

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