2005 Syrah 750 ml
A beauty! On the nose deep aromas of black fruits with hints of violets- quite intense. On the palate, black raspberry is the main flavor with violets suggested once again, along with a hint of fresh tree resin. There is also a ‘meaty’ element and finally, black pepper. This is a very long-term wine with noticeable tannins, and yet, due to the wine’s balance, the tannins do not detract from ...
A beauty! On the nose deep aromas of black fruits with hints of violets- quite intense. On the palate, black raspberry is the main flavor with violets suggested once again, along with a hint of fresh tree resin. There is also a ‘meaty’ element and finally, black pepper. This is a very long-term wine with noticeable tannins, and yet, due to the wine’s balance, the tannins do not detract from the wine’s enjoyability even at this very youthful stage. Remarkable balance and elegance is not typical for this variety. A wine to follow the evolution of over 10/15/20 years and more. 356 cases, 14% alcohol, 100% syrah.
Excellent - Frederic Koeppel - 03.23.2009
I took the Renaissance Vineyard & Winery Syrah 2005, Sierra Foothills, North
Yuba, a superb example of the grape and of the individual style of winemaking from this producer, to my friends on Sunday. The bouquet is dusky and bosky, an entrancing wreathing of dust and leather, flint and granite, macerated, spiced and stewed black currants and plums and a hint of violets. In the mouth, flavors of mulberry and blueberry are brought in, along with touches of fruit cake, briers and brambles and a slightly mossy, earthy strain of dried porcini. The wine is dense and chewy, warm and enveloping, luscious and juicy yet with a pervasive tannic element that provides depths of gravity and foundation. The oak regimen here is fascinating. The wine ages two years in one-to-six-year-old barrels, and then nine months in neutral — that is long-used — large casks; the result is a wine of tremendous presence and power and tone yet one in which wood itself feels almost invisible. This should drink beautifully — and was wonderful with the pot au fer — through 2014 or ‘15. As is always the rub with products from Renaissance, availability is an issue; production of this wine amounted to a whopping 356 cases, so put out feelers, send telegrams and email messages, make those phone calls. Excellent. About $35
Jeff Cox, wine writer for Decanter, many wine and food books
‘Hi Gideon--I had your 2005 Syrah last night and must congratulate you on one of the best--if not the best--California Syrahs I've tasted. It smelled like Syrah. It tasted like Syrah. Wonderfully pure and varietally correct. So many California Syrahs are just featureless red wines. Not yours! --Jeff ‘
Jeff Cox - 05.29.09
Renaissance's New Releases: Syrah and Roussanne
Looking down at Renaissance's roussanne vinesTransparency isn't just good for government and for financial institutions (cough, AIG, cough), it's good for wine. I like fruit as much as the next guy and don't usually take to truly austere wines, but my favorite wines show mineral energy and the stamp of place.
As I've explained ad nauseum, Sierra Foothills producer Renaissance makes terroir-driven wines: the grapes are organically farmed (they're now converting to biodynamics), harvested at roughly 24.5 Brix, fermented solely with native yeasts, and rarely aged in new oak. Because of these winemaking decisions, their wines are not just balanced and (often) elegant, they really show the rocky minerality that's unique to their steep, Hermitage-esque hill of decomposed granite, no matter how much ripe fruit the wines have.
This is certainly true of the newest Renaissance releases: the 2005 Syrah, the 2006 Roussanne Estate, and the 2006 Roussanne Vendanges Tardives.
I sampled the wines over two nights. The first night I made ravioli using fell-off-the-bone beef short ribs, steamed potato cubes dressed in cracked sea salt and pepper and olive oil, and a simple green salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. The second night I fixed roasted yellow pepper salad and broiled lamb chops that had been marinated in fresh meyer lemon juice, fresh rosemary, garlic, and cracked sea salt and pepper. Roquefort and grapes followed.
Speaking of transparency, you should know that I received these bottles as press samples (my first ever).
I have had some lovely, balanced, and just plain excellent California syrah from producers such as Unti and Lavoro. But balanced or blowsy, the usual calling card for CA syrah is serious, dark fruit. This is different.
The 2005 Renaissance Syrah, which sees no new oak, has beautiful aromas of violets, fresh rain on stone, grilled meat, and sweet boysenberries. It is aromatically intense. It is not fruit-driven and shows less black fruit than any other Renaissance syrah I've had. Instead, the spicy, peppery, fine-grained tannins deliver leather and blackcurrant (!) flavors. The acidity is strong and masculine and gives the wine great lift on the palate, even as tannins coat the tongue. And there's a nascent, elegant richness that slowly shows with air.
Given how well this went with my broiled lamb chops, I could say that this primary, evolving wine is drinking well now. But I'm going to give my purchased bottles the time they deserve to develop — this should last at least two decades. And if I can't keep my hands off it, I'll decant it 24 hours before my meal.
Wicker Parker - 03.17.2009