My wine loving friend, and co-conspirator, Sabrina and I decided to have a Super Bowl of Syrah. Neither of us care about football but we did want a reason to drink good wine. We had hoped it would be a larger affair with more people, but gradually our friends cancelled on us. That didn't stop us from popping some bottles. With it down to just myself, Sabrina, her husband Eric, sister in law Hillary, and brother in law Marc; we made it a blind tasting to add another layer of intrigue. Sabrina prepared an AMAZING braised beef stew with luscious creamy polenta. I made a blue cheese pyhllo napoleon topped with a dried fruit and port compote.
Both dishes paired wonderfully with the syrahs. While we were digging in to the lovely spread, Eric wrapped the bottles in brown paper bags and began pouring. Sabrina pulled out some tasting sheets for us to make notes on. It was a lot of fun and a real exercise on my palette. The first wine threw me at first. The fruit that was so evident led me to believe that it was new world. But the slight funk and earth on the nose made me think it was new world. After careful consideration both Sabrina and I guessed old world. This wine was Mas De Aveylands from the Rhone Valley of France. We were both correct in the region but wrong on age. We guessed 2-3 years of age but the wine was actually vintage 2000. The second wine was obvious from the start that it came from the new world. I guessed Central Coast California, but it turned out to be Renwood Sierra Series Syrah from Sierra Foothills area. The third really threw me. From the start I couldn't think it was anything BUT an Australian shiraz. It had the concentration, fruit and extraction of an Australian. Or so I thought. This wine was actually a 1999 Jory Syrah from Monterey County California. Even though I was wrong on my guess I still have to say that this third wine was absolutely stellar. Go buy it now. I saw it at Joe's, but PLEASE save me a bottle. The fourth wine was rich and full bodied, but not quite ready to be drunk. Sabrina likened it to a teenager who was rambunctious, untethered, and unsure of itself. It will be ready to go in a few years after it settles down. Go grab a bottle of Novy Garys' Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah from Great Wines and Spirits and lay it down for 2 years. You'll be glad you gave it time.
What to Cook This Week - Pan-roasted chicken in cream sauce, Indian-spiced tomato and egg casserole, a swordfish piccata: Make foods to comfort against the cold.
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