Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Washington Syrah v. Australian Shiraz

The UCI Cycling World Championship races were held this past week. Australia made a solid showing early in the week and wound up winning the second most medals to Great Britain.  It is hard to consider a Silver Medal as your highlight of the races, but Australia's finish in the Men's road race just might be the exception.

Matt Goss finished a half wheel length behind Mark Cavendish (arguably the best sprinter in the world right now).  Second place ain't bad.  Especially when you consider that Great Britain assembled a team of some of the world's top Time Trial specialists to control the race and keep the pace high throughout the 250+ km race.

Lucha Vino honors Australia with a matchup that features a Washington state Syrah from Laurelhurst Cellars against a Henry's Drive Shiraz from Padthaway Australia.

Tale of the Tape

2006 Henry's Drive Reserve Shiraz

The link above is to the 2007 vintage, you can download a pdf with the 2006 details from the same page.

100% Shiraz (Syrah) aged in oak barrels - 65% American and 35% French 80% new and 20% one year old.

Purchased from Garagiste for $19.86.

2008 Laurelhurst Cellars Syrah

100% Syrah from Red Mountain (Kiona Ranch at the end of the road and Songbird vineyards) aged in French Oak (80% new).

Purchased at the Winery for $25.

Round 1.  First Opening:

The Henry's Drive has a nose showing smoke, dust, cedar and dark fruit with a palate of spicy currants, pepper and more dark fruit with a slightly dry tart finish.

The Laurelhurst has a nose of clove, peppers, toffee, cinnamon and deep red fruit with a palate of red fruit, menthol, cocoa, espresso and and a dry cherry bark finish that lingers for a long time.

Henry attempts to pile drive the Laurelhurst boasting loads of power from down under.  But, the Laurelhurst is crafty demonstrating a more complex attack that comes at you in layers.

Laurelhurst takes a close first round.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

Henry's Drive is piling on the muscle showing a nose that is sweet spicy dark cherries and berries with toffee and toasted smoky bacon fat.  The palate is showing black cherry, spices and toffee with a sweet Asian cedar spice finish.

Laurelhurst is not intimidated showing a nose of dark red berries some creamy cinnamon, menthol and clove spices.  There are hints of smoked meats lurking in background.  The palate is dark berries, spices and toffee with a super spicy menthol finish.  A raw showing of spicy, sassy, power.  The laurelhurst is taunting the Australian as if to say "is that all you've got?  Bring it on!"

Both Luchadors are showing more power in round two with the Laurelhurst really stepping up its game to take the second round.

Round 3. One day later

The Henry's Drive is continuing to evolve, looking for new ways to attack.  The nose is licorice, dark fruit and salt & pepper with a similar palate that includes some cedar and spices on the finish.

The Laurelhurst is stepping up too with a nose showing dark fruit and asian spices with a palate that also includes some black licorice. clove and tofee and a long cedar spice box finish.

A close finishing round with Laurelhurst taking the third round of the match too.  That makes it a clean sweep for the Washington Syrah!

Wrap up and over all observations

Both of these wines were very good and demonstrated some distinct differences in style and character.  Even though the Laurelhurst took the match 3 - nil, this was a close battle just like Cavendish winning the World Championships over Matt Goss by less than the width of a bicycle wheel!

I give the Laurelhurst an 89 and the Henry's Drive an 88.

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