Vintage Wine Club’s Syrah Taste Off


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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The Vintage Wine Tasters met this past Wednesday for their bi-monthly blind wine tasting to taste and judge six Syrah/Shiraz wines priced under $20. Our host was Vintage club member Jim who did an extraordinary job researching and selecting six excellent examples of Syrah wine. As per usual, the wines were bagged and scored using a unique 25-point scoring system. There were four wines from California and two from Australia. Interestingly, the two Australian wines were our first and second choices. The Results:

First Place:
Layer Cake 2008 South Australian Shiraz – Costco for $12.40, TJ’s for $15

Second Place:
Marquis Philips 2008 Shiraz McLaren Vale – $11.50 at Costco, Wine.com for $15

Third Place:
Cycles Gladiator 2007 Central Coast – $13 at Tomales Bay Palace Market

Fourth Place:
Barefoot California Shiraz – $8.00 at Tomales Bay Palace Market

Fifth Place:
Qup̩ 2007 Syrah Central Coast Р$15 at Weimax

Sixth Place:
Richardson Vineyards 2005 Synergy – $11 at Costco

vintage-syrahWe enjoyed all the wines, there was not a bad wine in the bunch. They were all medium bodied and not over the top in alcohol and not overly fruity in nature. All of these wines would go nicely with food. During our discussion we remarked repeatedly how good these wines were compared to many we have tasted well above the $30 mark. Too often we find wines in the expensive category flawed with a Port-like heaviness that can only be properly paired with meals that are creamy or fatty, red meat dishes that are likely to send one to the grave before their time. Next time you are perusing the Syrah wine section, look for the Layer Cake; it is a winner.

Our next tasting will be in March and we will be tasting Chardonnay wines under $20. We decided after much discussion, some of it very heated, that we will taste both stainless steel-only Chardonnay as well as heavy duty, malolactic, and creamy Chardonnay. Ray will be our host and it is very obvious he has his work cut out for the next two months, searching for the right mix of Chardonnays. Again, the Vintage Wine Tasters do accept samples and please contact us if you would like to risk fame and fortune by submitting your wine to the Vintage Wine Tasters.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.