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Steele Lake County Syrah (half-bottle) 1999

Syrah/Shiraz from North Coast, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    After many years of close observation we decided to plant Syrah in Lake County. This decision has been affirmed as each vintage has rewarded us with great fruit. Five growers made the initial plantings, and of these, two have stood out as superior vineyard sites. Floyd and Jolene Silva farm the benches to the west on the Big Valley between Kelseyville and Lakeport. Don and Betty Fiora have a picture postcard vineyard well into the southeast of Clear Lake. Both of these vineyards produce wines of intense color, flavor and structure. We find the friendly competition between growers for the best wine of the vintage to be a healthy thing.

    Food Pairing: This is a very robust and intense style of Syrah. The tannins are firm and chalky, the flavor is of crushed black fruits, and the aroma has the dusty character, which is a classic Terroir for Syrah. Well worth cellaring, this wine will reward someone patient enough to wait a few years to drink it. As far as good pairing I would recommend hearty dishes, grilled meats, sausages, rib eye or rack of lamb.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Steele

    Steele

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    Steele, North Coast, California
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    Jed Steele has worked making wine in California since the late 1960s. In 1991, he founded his own small winery in Lake County. Steele Wines specializes in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Pinot Blanc and Syrah.

    North Coast

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    Encompassing the grape-growing regions located north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano. Napa and Sonoma get all of the attention, but there are a few other counties producing great wine in Northern California. Two notable examples are Mendocino and Lake County, the northernmost winegrowing regions in the state. These AVAs are very different, both from their neighbors to the south and from one another.

    Mendocino benefits from the cooling fog of the Pacific Ocean and is able to successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. There is a significant focus here on organic viticulture. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc are the dominant varieties. Both regions are excellent sources of high-quality but affordable California wines in a wide range of styles.

    Syrah/Shiraz

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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.

    WWH33S32B1_1999 Item# 55934