Monday, April 8, 2013

Updated Review & Rating: **** $$ Vina La Playa Axel Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2007 = BEST VALUE

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Initial review, by way of background: This is Viña La Playa Axel Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2007, finished at 14.% alcohol.  This small production wine is made by the Axelsen family, with patriarch Søren originally hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Original tasting, March, 2011:

In the glass: La Playa Axel shows as brilliant ruby magenta, opaque in the center. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Chilean syrah shows a bold, sweet blood nose, with broody, inky and fruity elements all playing off each other. 

On the palate: The fruit wins on the palate, with a brighter-than-expected purple middle.  Acids are there for sure, and likely some tannins.  This will need to settle down for awhile with a longer decant to properly assess.

In summary: Overall, tentatively rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, because for the nose alone I would return for another glass.  But watch this space to see what a long decant achieves...

Following 6-hour decant:   The nose has closed in a bit, though showing the same stylistic elements of dark ink and fruit.  Now a much better balance on the palate, with rich, sturdy blackberry fruit showing solid supporting tannins and acids that are well in-check.  Puts this solidly in the three-star camp.  I'm interested to see what will happen with even lengthier decanting, so I will keep a partial bottle cool under vacuum for a few days...

Following long decant, three days kept cool under vacuum in partially filled bottle: Deep, blood red nose has held well.  The decant has brought a much richer, lusher balance to the palate.  Chewy tannins provide nice support to a deep, very rich, very ripe, blackest of blackberry middles.  Some cocoa in there, almost chocolate.  Notches a plus on top of the three stars, and crowds towards a fourth star.  Good value, and I'm going to try an EVEN longer decant...

And even longer decant, two more days kept cool in partially filled bottle without vacuum:  Still bloody and sweet/beefy on the nose, now somewhat bright too. Deep and full still on the palate, finishing bright. Held up well.

Updated review, over a year later,  July, 2012:  Deep ruby red now.    Yummy sweet purple depth on the nose.  Inky and broody, less bloody.  Lush, rich, sandy blackberry forest now on the palate.  Picks up where the long decant left off.  Along with the black forest fruits, definite red fruit elements come along.  So does a fresh laundry scent.  Finishes long and clean, with a slight acid uplift to the cheeks.  No question this is four stars now, at five years from vintage date.  It rates a best value also!

Updated review, almost another year later, March, 2013:  Very consistent with last year's review, in color and nose especially.  The palate shows red fruit, with deeper purple depth and tones.  Smoother, few acids on the wrap-up.  Getting close to "drink up" time, now at six years from vintage date.
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