Route 3 Wines 2009 Syrah

Posted on May 17, 2012

Route 3 Wines 2009 Syrah is a pleasant red wine, a good choice to serve this summer alongside grilled pork chops or chicken.

Route 3 2009 Syrah

Route 3 Wines 2009 Syrah. Pork chop with collard greens sautéed in bacon fat.

According to Craig Jones, the sales and marketing director at Route 3 Wines, the 2009 syrah is a lighter wine than the previous vintage. I haven't tasted the 2008, but I would agree with his assessment of the '09 vintage. Syrah can be a masculine wine, but this is a softer version, a comfortable, very approachable wine that is eminently drinkable today.

In the Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil recalls the story of George Saintsbury, a famous British scholar and wine writer, describing the Rhône wine Hermitage as "the manliest wine" he'd ever had. Syrah is one of the principle grapes of the Rhône wine region in southern France, and Hermitage itself is made exclusively from syrah. At its best, syrah makes intense, spicy, and quite peppery wines. MacNeil describes them as having "potent and exuberant aromas and flavors [that] lean toward leather, damp earth, wild blackberries, smoke, roasted meats, and especially pepper and spice."

While the Route 3 2009 Syrah suggests these flavors, especially blackberries and a touch of smokiness, it's a more sedate style than the classic Rhône wine. Let's just say it's not afraid to show its feminine side.

Tasting Notes for Route 3 Wines 2009 Syrah

With 15.4% alcohol (according to the label), the Route 3 2009 Syrah has nice texture and mouthfeel. Despite the ripeness suggested by the alcohol level, it also has very good acidity, giving it fresh, bright quality with cherry and berry flavors. The oak is nicely integrated, subtle yet present enough to add vanilla and a layer of complexity. The overall softness made me think of a chianti (or sangiovese), and its approachable character makes it an appealing summer wine, in my opinion. I suggest chilling it ever so slightly so that it's cooler than room temperature (but not cold), which I think adds to the fresh, soft appeal of this very friendly (and reasonably priced) red wine from the Dunnigan Hills AVA in Yolo County.

Disclosure: I purchased this wine at Nugget Market in Woodland, Calif. for $10. It's also available for purchase online.

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