Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Tale of Morrison Lane Syrah and the Little Man Scoffer

When I think of syrah from the Walla Walla Valley, I often think of Morrison Lane. The Morrison family was one of the first (or may be the very first) to have syrah in their vineyards - - and the grapes are well known. There are other wineries in the area who have received accolades and awards with the syrah grape from the Morrison Lane Vineyards, such as Charles Smith K-Vintners, Walla Walla Vintners, and Barrister Winery from Spokane, WA.

I got my hands on a few bottles of Morrison Lane Syrah - 2004. Recently I had some smarmy little man in a black hat scoff at the wine - - and the prig (Or should I say "some misinformed soul?" No - - "prig" works for me.) hadn't even tasted it! In a rather condescending voice, and especially to impress the woman he was with, the prig informed me that "... the wine wouldn't be any good because syrah doesn't hold up to age. I mean, everyone knows that - - right?" Scoff-scoff-scoff. The tone of his voice was rather offensive as if I was trying to cheat him or I was ignorant about wine.

It is true that, unlike a new tannic cabernet, some syrahs do not necessarily benefit from age, but then again - - not all syrahs are made equal. Scoff that remark (syrahs does not hold up to age ...) to the lover and bearer of an aged Penfolds "Grange" or Côte Rôtie. I dare ya. I double dog dare ya.

I knew the wine was worthy, besides being it was a Morrison Lane wine and they have proven to be solid, but I had also recently tasted an even older library wine from Morrison Lane that was still full of life.

Later that evening, in great defiance, I opened the bottle of 2004 Morrison Lane Syrah and I was not surprised one bit of what came out of the bottle. I knew it had held up. The color was still a beautiful inky purple and almost with a "thickness" as it gurgled into the glass. As I stuck my nose deep into the bowl of the glass, I immediately picked up what I refer to as "Walla Walla" or "Autumn."

Grapes from the Walla Walla Valley often have a smoky and earthy aroma. The taste was that of blackberries, bread and cloves. It still carried that light, but smoky quality - - like burning leaves. The finish left my mouth with a lot of spice and a bit of oak in the finish. Oh and let me say this - - these notes are overall from the second day of opening - and once again after I tasted the wine on its third day, these notes are still very much present. I would definitely recommend to enjoy this syrah with food.

The first and second day of opening I paired each glass with dinner. The first meal was baked potato and standing rib roast and the second day was a light dinner of cheese and crackers. The wine was even better on the second day. Third day? Two sips out of curiosity, but with a breakfast of scrambled eggs and coffee. I will finish the bottle this evening and sip it with confidence I am tasting a worthy wine. In fact, as I write this the empty glass is by my computer and still emits and wafts the fruity, yeasty and smoky remnants from the wine.

The moral of the story? Don't be priggish and judge a book - - or ummm ... a label and vintage by its cover. Isn't that the glory of wine? To open the bottle, experience and explore?

3 comments:

Ashleigh and Tiffani said...

We couldn't agree with you more! So glad we found you! We will be adding you to our blog roll. My friend and I recently started a blog called The Drinking Girls. We started it after we wrote a cookbook called The Drinking Girls' Guide to Spanish Food. We were military wives living in Spain at the time. Now that we are about to embark on a second Drinking Girls' cookbook, we decided to start our own blog and are looking for some great blogs to share with our readers. I just heard about Chocolate wine from a friend and google led me to you...I still live in Spain and love Spanish reds and love French wine as well. Thanks for the info! Adding your to our blog roll now! Cheers, Ashleigh & Tiffani, The Drinking Girls

Catie said...

Hey Drinking Girls,
Happy New Year and thanks for the link.
Catie

Unknown said...

I still have 6 bottles of this 2004 Syrah left. We purchased last year in Walla Walla, but it's actually a Columbia Valley wine. We opened a bottle for Valentine's day and it is still outstanding.