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by Fred McMillin
My First Syrah
It was the winery's first Syrah. It was the winemaker's first Syrah. Going to use expensive French oak. Very tricky picking...the Syrah grapes LOOK ripe, but they aren't. Winemaker Larry Brooks is sweating bullets! He's making over 17,000 cases. Yikes!
The Rest of the Story
That was in late October 1998. How did it all turn out?
We did not give it a soft spot in the blind tasting. The average price of the bottles from 19 competing wineries was $10 more than Larry's first Syrah. The 15 tasters sniffed and sipped...and voted.
The Syrab came in...fourth! The average price of the three wines that topped it was $60. The Syrah was thirteen dollars. That's value. Sales Vice President Robert Farver prophetically had sent me a note saying, I truly believe there is simply no one else right now who is producing Syrah of this quality at this price." It is our...
Wine of the Day
1988 Echelon Syrah, California, $13 range
Postscript—Other Larry Brooks' Firsts
OK, this was Larry's first Syrah, but he's broken plenty of new ground in the past. For example:
Some twenty five years ago he startled the wine world by making four excellent Chardonnays and six Pinot Noirs from a little-known region which today we know as...Carneros.
About that time he also did some pioneering work searching for wine descriptors that were typical of major California wine districts. Example of Chardonnay aromas: Napa Valley—apple, Carneros—citrus, Central Coast—honey/caramel.
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This page created August 2000