This bottle has been open for three nights now, re-corked each night, of course, with a VacuVin. The first two nights, it was ordinary; tonight, it is singing.
Blackberries, cassis, black peppercorn. Ripe and inviting. 13.5% alcohol is just right for this wine. Has the qualities I like in cool climate Australian Shiraz, but at a fraction of the cost. This is very good Southern Rhone Syrah. Northern Rhone Crozes and St. Joseph are classier but, again, at a much higher price.
As an inexpensive Vin de Pays, this wine is theoretically ready to drink when it hits the shelves. I have held on to this bottle for more than a year, and, judging from the way it's held up since being opened Monday night, I think it will probably be at its best in two or three more years. The price tag from Sawall's Health Food Store in Kalamazoo reads $7.49; I think the current price for the 2010 may be a dollar higher. Either way, it's artisan wine on a budget.
The partner of this Syrah is a Grenache for the same price, but you can also step up a notch to the Cuvee de la Dame Vielle or Cuvee Friande which blend the two grapes for a more typical Southern Rhone.