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Neyers Syrah Cuvee D'Honneur 2005

Syrah/Shiraz from Carneros, California
  • RP92
  • CG90
14.1% ABV
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Given the historically high interest in 'natural' products of all types, it's no surprise that wines made with lower than normal levels of sulphites would begin to develop a following. This is especially true in France, where a handful of talented young winemakers are producing some of the most exciting wines in their appellations by taking a 'non-intervention' approach to winemaking. It's a high stakes gamble that requires enormous attention to detail, along with a fresh approach to traditional cellar practices. One of the acknowledged leaders of the movement is Thierry Allemand of Cornas, whose 'Cuvée Spécial' Cornas is thought to be the benchmark example of Northern Rhône Syrah. Allemand has kindly shared his winemaking ideas with us over the years, encouraging us to try these techniques with our Syrah. We have recognized his role by naming the resulting wine 'Cuvée d'Honneur'. In 2005, our Cuvée d'Honneur Syrah took a dramatic step forward in both complexity and intensity. The production remains small, by necessity -- less than 10 barrels. The aroma is a striking combination of multiple spices, with earthy tones of bacon fat and leather. The real charm, though, is the underlying fruit. Big, grapey and supple, this wine is a textbook example of the heights reachable with old world technique and new world fruit.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The beautiful 2005 Syrah Cuvee d'Honneur boasts a deep, dense ruby/purple color to the rim as well as a rich, sumptuous perfume of charcoal, graphite, blackberries, pepper, flowers, and roasted meats. A beautiful texture, medium to full body, good underlying acidity, and admirable freshness and purity suggest it will provide immense pleasure over the next 7-8 years. Range: 90-92
CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
If not as heavy and dramatically sized as past Neyers' efforts, this very keenly focused wine combines clear varietal spice and gamy notes in aromas that are nicely supported by well-proportioned blackberry and spice notes. It is fairly full and supple in its early palatal impacts and sports good balance from front to back, and it keeps its tannins comfortably in check while still showing the strength of structure for aging.
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Neyers, Carneros, California
2005 Syrah Cuvee D'Honneur
Begun in 1992 by Bruce and Barbara Neyers and their winemaking partner, Ehren Jordan, Neyers Vineyards produces 15,000 cases of wine annually. They rely primarily on Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the Neyers' 50-acre Conn Valley ranch farmed by Hugo and Lupe Maldonado. Additioanl grapes are purchased from a select group of growers, several of which are identified on the labels of wines produced from grapes they have grown. In 1999 Neyers purchased the 30-acre Sage Canyon Winery in the foothills east of Rutherford and have developed that facility for their entire production that also includes Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel and Chardonnay.


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Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. Its close proximity to the San Francisco Peninsula and the San Pablo Bay is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo Bay create a cooling effect ideal for producing wines with crisp acidity and balanced flavors.

This cooler pocket of California lends itself to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and more recently, Old-World style Syrah. While more delicate than most wines from neighboring regions, these are firmly structured, complex, and full of flavor. Carneros is also an important source of sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne.


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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

WWH115169_2005 Item# 105840

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