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Terre Rouge Sierra Foothills Syrah 1999

Syrah/Shiraz from Sierra Foothills, California
  • WE93
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Winemaker Notes

Rich, elegant, and stylish Syrah! Terre Rouge is establishing a reputation as a world-class Syrah producer, and this is one of their best. Spicy and concentrated, with pure fruit flavors and a long finish - a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 wine.

From a cool harvest comes the most European-styled Syrah we have made to date. One other factor that explains the stylistic uniqueness of this wine is that part of blend is from two higher elevation vineyard sites that approach 3000 feet. They ripen later and mature at lower sugar levels. These two soprano lots were blended with one of our Shenandoah Valley lots which was more basso profundo. The resulting combination harmonizes and sings! The upslope provide finesse and wonderful meaty, white pepper nuances, while the downslope lot provides structure, concentration and a great smoky spicy Syrah sensibility.

"What an interesting wine. It drinks like it really comes from someplace, which is to say, it has terroir. It smells earthy and peppery, with a perfume of cassis. It's soft in tannins and acids, but utterly delicious. Hard to exaggerate the lip-smacking quality and fantastic finish."
-Wine Enthusiast

Critical Acclaim

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Terre Rouge

Domaine de la Terre Rouge

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Domaine de la Terre Rouge, Sierra Foothills, California
Terre Rouge is located in California on the West Slope of the Sierra Nevada in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley. The wines are made from vineyards in four Sierra Foothill counties: Placer, El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras. They also source fruit from one vineyard site in the soon-to-be new Clements appellation.

Terre Rouge's style emphasizes deep color, balanced flavors, full middle palate, and a long finish, with power and finesse. These wines gain complexity with age. Their goal has been to make the finest wines possible from the region - wines that transcend time and place and can be placed on the table with the best wines of the world.

President and Winemaker Bill Easton has been in the wine trade for over 30 years, not only as a winemaker, but also as a wine retailer, importer, and vineyard consultant. He has been handcrafting Terre Rouge Wines since the mid-1980's. Bill brings his well-honed palate to the table each time he makes one of our wines. He has an uncanny ability to create wines that express both power and finesse. He is not satisfied by making wines that are just well extracted, but strives to craft wines of nuance and complexity.

Sierra Foothills

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Originally a source of oenological sustenance for gold-seeking miners of the mid-1800s, the Sierra Foothills was the first region in California to produce wines from European grape varieties. Located between Sacramento and the Nevada border, this area’s immigrant settlers chose to forgo growing the then-ubiquitous Mission grape and instead brought with them superior vines from the Old World to plant alongside mining camps.

Zinfandel has been the most important variety of this region since its inception, taking on a spicy character with brambly fruit and firm structure. Amador and El Dorado counties, benefiting from the presence of volcanic and granite soils, are home to the best examples. Bold, robust Rhône blends and Barberas are also important regional specialties.

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.

CHMTRR44099_1999 Item# 56617