An Organic Northern California Syrah

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Jeriko Estates, California

Jeriko Estates in California red wine

The Jeriko estate vineyard is in southern Mendocino County, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of San Franciso. This area near the Russian River is home to some great champagne-style wines. The producer plants 1210 vines per acre (about 3 vines per 10 square meters). This high-density spacing is meant to force the roots deeper into the gravelly loam soil. When the roots have it easy the wine usually suffers. By the way, Jeriko is the Latin spelling in contrast to the more familiar Greek spelling of Jericho. Do you think it’s a way of getting attention?

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Wine Reviewed The San Francisco Wine Press Syrah 2006 DOC 13.8% alcohol about $17

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Description : This organically grown Syrah earned a Silver Medal at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Our Quality Assurance Laboratory has determined that this wine contains 13 mg/L of free sulphur. Tasting Note : We can highly recommend the 2006 Syrah, which had a gamey flavor and a depth that belied its price. (Blair Campbell, at the eastbayexpress website, April 15, 2009) And now for my review.

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At the first sips the wine was mouth filling, dark tasting, and yet there was some bubblegum. I first paired it with a commercial shepherd’s pie. This Syrah was very present and yet short. I tasted oak and light tannins. When I added a generous amount of cayenne pepper sauce the wine became darker and showed pleasant acidity.

The next meal consisted of a boxed vegetarian lasagna that I slathered with Parmesan cheese. The Syrah was solid and well balanced with good oak and some tobacco. It worked well with the lasagna’s tomatoes.

My final meal was a broiled steak (London Broil) with a garlicky ketchup and mustard sauce. The wine was oaky and quite long with dark cherries. It had great balance between the acidity and tannins. When it met the potatoes roasted in chicken fat, the wine was as before but the chocolate intensified. However, when it accompanied sliced eggplant roasted in lots of garlic and oil a harshness surfaced. The wine was somewhat sweet and the chocolate remained.

Before going to the cheeses I tried this wine with schmaltz herring packed in oil. The Syrah was round with caramel. In the presence of a yellow cheddar this wine was very round with oaky dark fruit. When it met the Swiss cheese this wine was powerful, oaky, deep, and dark.

Final verdict. I really liked this wine. Because I am tasting two wines at once I often have some wine left over after all the tastings. Believe me, not one drop of this wine went down the sink.

Access the companion wine An Italian Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine French or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include    with a new weekly review of $10 wines and devoted to the issues of wine, weight loss, and health.

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel

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