Thursday, February 2, 2012


Cimarone Reserve Syrah 2008

Cimarone Estate Wines, in the Happy Canyon AVA of Santa Barbara County, deals in Bordeaux and Rhone grape varieties grown on their Three Creek Vineyard.  Cimarone was kind enough to send me a few of their wines to sample, and this time we're tasting their 2008 Reserve Syrah.

These $40 bottles are numbered, and mine was bottle 1,316 of 1,380.  115 cases of this Doug Margerum wine were made.  Winemaking duties at Cimarone have been taken over by the capable Andrew Murray.  He will be in the cellar from the 2011 vintage forward.

This Syrah - the first Reserve produced by the winery - has a 14.5% abv number printed clearly and legibly on the label, no magnifying glasses needed.  The blend is 60% Syrah 383 clone, 20% Syrah Noir clone and 20% Syrah 877 clone, for those who like to get geeky about it.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!  The wine is aged for 18 months in oak which the winery describes as “very tight-grain Seguin Moreau and Hermitage hand crafted barrels.”

Upon pouring, I notice the wine is very dark.  Let's get real, it's practically black except for a little band of purple around the edges.  A gigantic blackberry nose shows oak spice and some clove notes.  An initial whiff of alcohol disappears after it settles down.  Big blackberry fruit is displayed on the palate, too.  A really warm expression of the oak rides along, with black pepper on the finish.  The sweet fruit and the savory, leathery aspect make for an intriguing sip, and big, toothy tannins plead for a filet seared quickly on both sides.

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