Ali vs. Frazier: Syrahs Savory & Sweet   Leave a comment


Some days you simply need to blow off a little steam.  Today was one of those days.  I awoke early this morning with a headache and a dread for a task I had to deal with first thing.  By the time I got to work, I was spent. 

What to do on an otherwise magical day with ethereal blue skies with patches of O’Keeffean clouds?  Simple: I am blessed with two buddies that love wine and hijinks almost as much as I do.   We decided to take an extra long lunch to have a meal with a special Syrah that we jointly acquired some months ago.  Of course, one bottle could not do on such a beautiful day and before we knew it– oops!– a second one had been opened.

The meal itself, served al fresco on my deck, was a simple fare from a local Italian restaurant– pizza, penne ala vodka, garlic knots– yes, we had the starches covered– but there was even a touch of salad.  We spent a couple of agreeable hours in each others’ company laughing at ourselves, discussing religion, life and work.  And of course, there was some eating and drinking to accompany the repartee.  

These two wines brought to mind the great battles between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.  The latter, a little slower but with frightening power and coming at you from the moment the first round bell sounds.  The former, with speed, agility and enough power to make you think twice before getting too close.  Not that this ever stopped Joe Frazier.

Long Shadows 'Sequel' Syrah 2005

Sequel Cellars Syrah 2005.  From Washington state, this wine is 96% Syrah and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 16 months in mostly French oak and had 14.7% alcohol.   Almost black, this wine was– I was expecting to be blown away by an overly extracted wine.  Blown away, yes, but by its finesse as well as its power.  This Old World style wine was initially a little tight, but 10 minutes in the decanter changed that.  It alternated amongst scents and flavors of tea, herbs, dark fruit including blackberry and black cherry, underbrush, bacon and vanilla.  As it opened up, it reminded me of velvet robe sliding off a bare shoulder and onto the floor– all in slow motion– revealing unspoiled flesh… and perhaps a tramp stamp.  It finished with an enveloping sensuality balanced by soft tannins and acidity.  If it had a fault, and here I am being very picky, it is that I wished the finish were just a tad longer.   But this is a minor quibble.  Rated *** 1/2 


Adelaida Glenrose Vineyard Reserve Syrah 2007.  From Paso Robles, CA, this one had simply gorgeous ripe fruit.  Right out of the bottle, this wine whispered, “Drink me, I’m here just for you.”  Yes, I really want to believe that.  I’m here for you too.  Although sweeter than the Sequel, this wine had a enough acidity and tannin to balance the dark fruit core.  However, at 15.5% it lacked the finesse that I would have liked.  Yes, it carries a big punch, but without the agility and complexity of the Sequel.  Still, I’m here for you.  Although my buddies both preferred this to the Sequel, all I could see was poor Joe Frazier losing another one.  That sort of disagreement is part of the beauty of drinking good wine with great friends.  Great friends or no, this isn’t a democracy around here and so, I get to issue the final rating.  Rated ***

Posted August 23, 2011 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

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