The name Syrah is used in France and the United States. The name Shiraz is used extensively in Australia. In fact Shiraz is Australiaís signature grape. Our previous review looked at an Australian Shiraz. For several years Syrah has joined Gamay in producing new wines. After reviewing two Gamay-based Beaujolais Nouveau wines we finish our 2008 new wine series with an offering from the Languedoc region of southwestern France. In yet another proof that the wine industry is truly international, the Languedoc region has been upgrading their wines, largely because of Australian wine specialists.
Letís start by quoting the back label. Made from 100% Syrah, this Primeur has a dark cherry hue, an intense nose of red fruits and a rich harmonious bouquet. Served chilled with light dishes or on its own. And now for my review.
On its own the wine tasted of bubble gum. It was candyish. The first meal involved beef stew slow cooked with soft wheat kernels and merguez (a spicy lamb sausage) accompanied by a dill pickle. The wine was refreshing but didnít really seem like wine. It cut the grease (merguez is quite greasy). I added Turkish harissa, a spicy condiment, and the bubble gum flavor was still dominant. And yet the wine remained refreshing.
The second meal centered around commercially prepared chicken thighs with the skin, soft wheat kernels, and a Turkish salad (mostly tomato and somewhat spicy.) This wine tasted of candy, kidís candy and was moderately acidic. Once again bubble gum was a dominant flavor. The wine actually improved with fresh pineapple.
The final meal was commercially prepared bar-b-que spare ribs with string beans in tomato sauce. This primeur (new) wine gave the impression of being thin. Can you guess what was the dominant flavor?
I finished the tasting with two cheeses. The first cheese was a yellow Cheddar. The pairing was marginally better than previously, but basically same old, same old. In the face of white Emmenthal (Swiss cheese) the Syrah finally lost itís bubble gum flavor. But the combo was fair at best.
Final verdict. I havenít checked the Kool-Aid flavors for decades but if they do make a bubble gum version Iíd be tempted to go short on the sugar, add some alcohol, and do a blind comparison with this wine. Yes, Iím exaggerating but not by all that much. If I remember, next year when I do my annual New Wine tasting, Iíll skip the Syrah.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel
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