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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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    Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.

    Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.

    Syrah/Shiraz

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    Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

    Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

    In the Glass

    Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

    Perfect Pairings

    Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

    Sommelier Secret

    Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

    WWH33S32B1_1999 Item# 55934