"This wonderful wine (Decoy 2008 Zinfandel). . .and white pepper. . . So easy to like." Wine Enthusiast Mag. Nov. 10, 2010 Scored it 92.
I reviewed this wine on August 1, 2010 saying: "Having a long white pepper finish seals the deal. I rated this a 91. The aroma is gentle and lovely, deep red color, light (easy to drink) yet complex and rich enough to thwart any doubt that this is a serious Zin."
For the time being, I've abandoned Zinfandel for Shiraz-Syrah. Though I am purchasing a new group of Zins, I wanted to venture into another wine that tends toward spiciness when young and pairs well with similar foods as Zinfandel, though Shiraz is, as I sense it, usually more dense and luscious, richer and aromatic, yet not always so, as evidenced by the Gamba Zin, or the aroma of the Dry Creek.
Because of time constraints, I begin my commentary by listing a few Shiraz-Syrah wines that I scored 89 points to 92 points and mostly costing less than $20. They all were very good, paired well with red meats, but had their own idiosyncrasies.
Jacob's Creek 2006 Reserve Shiraz, $12.99, 89 points, is smooth, vibrantly finishing long on the spicy side, yet individually marked with a subtle lime-peel tang. The color is more burgundy and less dense than I was use to, but flavor is king.
Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Australia 2007 Shiraz, $18.99-$21.99, 89 points, is complex, filled with blackberry, black pepper, and a long memorable finish. It is quite typical for these wines to cellar for a few years, and I recommend this Shiraz be used as a comparison wine for those who are interested in aging wine in an appropriate wine-cellar, tasting the evolution, smoothing out the tannin and adding complexity (not always), but also keep in mind the diminishing of the fruit aspects. Most wine reviewers would just say: drink now. I say: experiment.
Klinker Brick Lodi 2007 Farrah Syrah, $16.99, 89 points, needed some decanting, but the earth and leather notes in the aroma were tame and pleasant, the rich texture, and spicy finish qualified this wine to be in the same caliber as the other two Shiraz/Syrah wines.
Landmark Steel Plow 2006 Syrah, $32, 90 points, has me bucking many others who were carried away with this wine. I had to hunt high and low to find this, and I was quite disappointed with it, considering all the hype WS gave the Steel Plow a remarkable 94 points, though Stephen Tanzer's International Wine cellar gave it a 90 also. I'm finding an affinity for certain wine critics!
Landmark's 2006 Syrah is a big wine, well structured and balanced, with a good finish and aroma. I found it a bit pricey, especially compared to the Penfolds 2005 Bin 28.
Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna 2005 Shiraz, $19.99, 91 points, was rich, big and gentle at the same time, aromatic, having flavors of blueberries, mocha highlighted the mid-palate, and complimenting the finish was sweet-spice.
I scored this wine 91 points as did I score Two Hands 2007 Gnarly Dudes ($24.49) and 2006 Lily's Garden, but the Penfolds Bin 28 is, in my estimation, the best value.
Zaca Mesa 2006 Syrah, $19.99, 92 points, rich in licorice, spice, dark-berry, luscious and smooth, is wonderful.
Truchard 2005 Syrah, $24.99, 92 points, flavorful, smooth, is an excellent value.
Two Hands Angel's Share 2008 Shiraz, $24.49, 92 points, balanced the tobacco, licorice, pepper, fine bouquet, and finish into a near perfect package.
Yangarra McLaren Vale 2007 Shiraz, $18.99, 92 points has a beautiful bouquet, gentle hint of clay, early palate pepper, licorice notes, tangy and complex, with a long spicy finish, well balanced and luscious; this is a good stand-alone wine or pairs well with a rib-eye; all these 92 point wines share acclaim in my book, with the Yangarra being the best value.
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