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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Novy Syrahs - August 2, 2010

We tasted last night (8/2/10) with my SantaFe group Some Novy Syrahs:

  1. Novy Syrah RRV (15.1%) 2001: Med.dark color w/ slight browning; strong ripe/blackberry/Syrah/lush/
    plummy somewhat hot/alcoholic light toasty/oak slight old-red nose; some hot/alcoholic strong lush/ ripe/blackberry/Syrah/blueberry slight tannic/dried-out flavor; med.long hot/alcoholic strong/ripe
    blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak some dried-out/old wine finish; getting pretty shakey and alcohol
    pretty obvious. The wine was pretty much tired/dead/shot when I got it home. $16.00
  2. Novy Syrah SantaLuciaHighlands (15.1%) 2001: Dark color w/ very slight bricking; lovely cracked black pepper/cold-climate some roasted/Rhonish some blackberry/blueberry/Syrah light toasty/oak rather complex nose; tart some cracked black pepper/cold-climate bit roasted/Rhonish slight herbal fairly
    strong blackberry/Syrah bit tannic slightly dried-out flavor; med.long cracked black pepper/blackberry/
    Syrah slight herbal bit toasty/oak some tannic/dried-out flavor; some lovely cracked black pepper
    character and nice blackberry but starting to get a bit shakey. $18.00
  3. Novy Syrah NapaVlly (14.3%; 1011 cs) 2006: Dark color; strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/spicy
    fairly perfumed/perfumed talc light toasty/oak nose; tart blackberry/Syrah/ripe slight earthy/spicy bit
    lean/tannic light toasty/oak flavor; med.long bit lean/tannic/hard somewhat spicy/blackberry/Syrah light
    toasty/oak finish; a pleasant enough Syrah but just that; a bit simple. $19.00
  4. Novy Syrah Page-NordVnyd/NapaVlly (14.3%; 346 cs) 2006: Very dark color; some charred/burnt/ oak/smokey some blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry fragrant/perfumed nose; somewhat tannic/hard/ structured rather strong Syrah/blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/spicy some charred/smokey/oak flavor; long tannic/structured spicy/ blackberry/Syrah some charred/oak/smokey finish; very spicy fruit and good structure; needs 3-6 yrs. $21.75
  5. Novy Syrah UntiVnyd/DryCreekVlly (14.3%; 72 cs) 2007: Med.dark color; light toasty/oak some blackberry/ raspberry/bright/Syrah more spicy/Zin-like nose; tart rather raspberry/blackberry/Syrah/spicy light tannic light toasty/oak almost Zin-like flavor; med.long raspberry/blackberry/Zin-like/spicy some tannic finish; needs another yr or two; lots of raspberry character and more like Zin than Syrah. $21.50
  6. Novy Syrah SimpsonVnyd/DryCreekVlly (14.3%; 44 cs) 2006: Med.dark color; strong very perfumed/ framboise/ blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak/smokey/charred very aromatic nose; tart very perfumed/framboise/ Syrah/blackberry very spicy/floral some tannic/structured flavor; long very exotic/perfumed framboise/ blackberry/Syrah light toasty/smokey/oak some tannic finish; needs 2-5 yrs; a beautiful very perfumed/ exotic Syrah. $23.00
  7. Novy Syrah SapphireHillVnyd/RRV (14.1%) 2006: Med.dark color; very spicy strong blackberry/ Syrah/blueberry light peppery/cold-climate light toasty/oak some complex nose; tart beautiful very spicy/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/smokey/oak somewhat peppery/floral somewhat tannic/structured flavor; very long/lingering very spicy/blackberry/Syrah bit pungent/licorice/peppery some tannic complex finish; needs 2-5 yrs; beautiful Syrah at a great price. $17.50
  8. Novy Syrah AmberRidgeVnyd/RRV (14.4%) 2006: Dark color; some toasty/oak rather chocolaty/ blackberry/Syrah rather ripe/licorice somewhat simple/closed nose; softer simple/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak slight chocolaty/ripe slightly hard/tannic flavor; med.long bit tannic/hard/angular simple/ blackberry/Syrah bit ripe/licorice some tannic finish; seems a bit simple & clunky and not as interesting as the others; maybe a bit on the dull side. $17.50
  9. Novy Syrah ChristensenFamilyVnyd/RRV (14.4%; 190 cs) 2006: Med.color; strong blackberry/Syrah/ boysenberry bit floral/violets quite spicy light toasty/charred/oak slight roasted/peppery/Rhonish complex  nose; tart lovely blackberry/boysenberry/ripe/Syrah some floral/violets light charred/smokey/ oak bit tannic flavor; long light peppery/roasted/pungent quite spicy/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry light floral/violets/perfumed complex finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs; wonderful aromatics. $23.00
  10. Novy Syrah ChristensenFamilyVnyd/RRV (14.4%) 2007: Med.dark color; simpler less perfumed/spicy strong blackberry/Syrah light chocolaty/ripe light toasty/oak nose; fairly tart ripe/chocolaty/blackberry/ Syrah light toasty/oak modest tannins flavor; med. ripe/chocolaty/blackberry/Syrah light toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins; needs several yrs; a bit simpler & lacks the aromatics of the '06. $23.00
  11. Novy Syrah Parsons'Vnyd/RRV (14.1%) 2007: Dark color; strong blackberry/blueberry/Syrah/ boysenberry bit spicy/pungent/licorice light toasty/oak some perfumed/fragrant nose; tart strong blackberry/Syrah/blueberry light toasty/oak somewhat perfumed some tannic/structured flavor; long tart licorice/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry light toasty/oak bit tannic slight pungent/licorice finish; a solid/4-square Syrah. $23.00
  12. Novy Syrah Rosella'sVnyd/SantaLuciaHighlands (14.2%; 219 cs) 2007: Very dark color; some herbal somewhat peppery/roasted/Rhonish strong blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah/chocolaty very light toasty/oak complex nose; softer lush/chocolaty/blackberry/Syrah/boysenberry slight herbal slight peppery/roasted fairly tannic flavor; very long fairly tannic/structured some peppery/cold-climate/herbal strong ripe/blackberry/Syrah/ chocolaty finish; lots of ripeness but structured & tanic to age; needs 3-8 yrs yet; lovely/complex SLH Syrah. $25.75

And the usual BloodyPulpit:

1. The Siduri/Novy just came into NewMexico (National). Although my LosAlamos group tastes the Novys on a regular basis, I didn't think very many in my SantaFe group was familiar with them.
So I organized a tasting of the latest Novy Syrahs, accumulated over the last two yrs, plus two
from the archives. I think some of them are ready to buy Novy Syrahs now. Alas, National brought in only the '07 NapaVlly Syrah. Hopefully, more will come in eventually. The prices reflect my "original customer" discount, plus $2.50/btl shipping. Needless to say, these reflect great values across the board.
2. Two oldies: The two '01's were from my archives. At pouring, the NapaVlly showed lots of alcohol and only a bit of that tired/old-wine character. By the time I got it home several hrs later, it had turned fairly brown and was pretty much DOA. The SantaLuciaHighlands '01 was in much better shape, but, too, showed a bit of tired/dried out character. But it had some really nice cold-climate/black pepper character and noticiably less alcohol. Alas, it was not nearly as good as the '02 we'd had a few weeks before.
3. NapaVlly: Adam's NapaVlly Syrahs have always, for me, been the least of his Syrahs. Up-valley NapaVlly Syrah, from the valley floor, has not impressed me that much. I think it may just be a bit too hot. They often have pleasant blackberry character, but I seldom find anything distinctive or interesting in them. The Page-Nord vnyd is just one such, valley floor to the SE of Yountville in the OakKnoll area. That said, this P-N '06 was one of his better NapaVlly Syrahs, though still a bit on the simple side compared w/ the other '06's. However, it may develop into something interesting.
4. Acids: I know that Adam is not adverse to acid additions when he feels it would make for a better wine. I'd be interested to know which of these had acid added. They all (of the young ones) had a noticible acidity on the palate, but nothing that really stood out. That acidity gave them a brightness and some zip that is missing in a lot of other Calif Syrahs.
5. DryCreekVlly: Another area which I'm not convinced is a good home for Syrah. I seldom find DCV Syrahs that excite me. Maybe a bit too hot to make interesting Syrahs there. They often, to me, have a berry component to them that speaks more of Zin than Syrah. Even of MikeOfficer's/Carlisle Syrahs, I tend to find the DCV versions a bit less interesting than his RRV ones. That said, I was mightly impressed by Adam's Simpson '06. Maybe one of the best of his DCV Syrahs I've yet had; wonderful aromatics.
6. Several people commented on the style of Adam's Syrahs being very consistent across the AVA's and vnyds. 'Tis true, I thought; and unlike anyone else's style for Syrah. Yet I found all the wines distinctive one from the other. Oftentimes, it was difficult to describe precisely the differences I was finding. For some producers of Pinot who also make Syrah, I describe their efforts (Radio-Coteau, Shane, Dehlinger for example) as "Syrah made by a Pinot producer". Not the case for Adam's Syrahs. They bear only a slight stylistic similarity to the Pinots he makes.

Of this tableau of Syrahs, my (and the group's) clear favorite was the Rosella's. Closely followed by the SapphireHill and the Simpson. I still think Adam's best Syrahs are from the SLH. And I like the ones from the RRV and the BennettVlly almost as much. The NapaVlly ones still leave me unthrilled, just not very distinctive to my mind.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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