Smoking Loon Syrah 2011
Syrah/Shiraz from California
Our 2011 Smoking Loon Syrah is a hidden gem amongst the Smoking Loon family. It invites you in with rich, dark aromas of blueberry, ripe red raspberry and freshly cracked white pepper. On the palate, dense fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry are pleasantly contrasted by earthy notes of Herbs de Provence with a hint of anise on the finish. This finely balanced medium-bodied Syrah will pair well with hearty dishes such as beef bourguignon or Buffalo Burgers with sweet potato fries. This wine continues to be a regular Smoking Loon fan favorite.
Smoking Loon Winery
Don Sebastiani & Sons is a family-owned wine negociant firm specializing in the marketing of upscale, but moderately priced varietal wines. Principals Don Sebastiani and sons, Donny and August are third and fourth generation California vintners and wine merchants. The company is headquartered in Sonoma Valley and has a winery in the Napa Valley.
Smoking Loon has been recognized as a Value Brand of the Year by Wine & Spirits magazine (2005).
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About Other California
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.