Friday, March 20, 2009

2004 Meyer Vineyard Syrah: Berry Good

The February forecast for Napa was rain day and night but we were undeterred. Between winery visits in St. Helena, we ducked into Dean & DeLuca to find off-the-beaten-track wines to take home. Wine specialist Spencer was ready to take us on so we filled him in on what we eat (lots of grilled meats and vegetables), what we like (Syrah, big reds) and a wish list wine that's hard to find in the desert (Cabernet Franc).

Spencer's Syrah pick was the 2004 Meyer Vineyard by Hestan ($34), a relatively new producer we didn't know. Vintners Stanley and Helen Cheng released their first Hestan wines in 2005 along with their second label, Meyer. Once home, we paired the Syrah with grilled New York steaks seasoned with lots of salt and pepper. The lead-off swirl and sniff told us we had a winner. The first sip gave us a mouthful of berry pie – rich and juicy with a hint of tea to tone down the fruit. While not as peppery as many Syrahs, the wine's full-bodied mouthfeel worked seamlessly with the steak. Tannins were nicely integrated into the velvety texture and a long, smooth finish. The 14.5% alcohol content surprised us as the wine's pleasures seemed balanced and satisfying, not hot. So far, Spencer is batting a thousand. Next up: Cabernet Franc.

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