Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Washington Syrah v. Crozes Hermitage

The start of the Tour de France is just three weeks away.  The pros will be putting the finishing touches on their preparation for the "biggest bike race in the world" in one of two upcoming week long stage races.

The Criterium du Dauphine takes place this week in the Central/Eastern regions of France.  The racers will cover parts of the Rhone and Savoie regions.

The other option is the Tour de Suise which begins June 9th.

The Dauphine began with a short Prologue Time Trial covering just 5.7 km.  This is a short powerful effort with the racers on their limit for slightly less than 7 minutes.  Syrah is a great companion to this type of powerful effort.

This week's matchup features a Washington state Syrah battling with a Syrah from the Crozes Hermitage region in the Northern Rhone.

2007 Nota Bene Columbia Valley Syrah v. 2006 A. Ogier & Fils Crozes Hermitage Syrah

Tale of the Tape

2007 Nota Bene Columbia Valley Syrah

84% Syrah (51% Stillwater Creek Vineyard,
22% Stone Tree Vineyard)

8% Mourvèdre (Kiona Heart of the Hill Vineyard)
8% Grenache (Stone Tree Vineyard)

Aged for 21 months in 18% new French Oak Barrels and remainder of barrels neutral American and French Oak.

Purchased from Full Pull wines for $17.99.

2006 A. Ogier & Fils Crozes Hermitage Syrah

Purchased from Esquin for $9.99

Round 1. First opening

The Nota Bene struts into the ring surrounded by an entourage worthy of a red carpet entrance.  The nose is showing dark fruit, smoked meat, earth, forest floor and pine needles.  The palate is also showing dark fruit along with all spice leading to a tart slightly buttery and peppery finish.

Les Brunnelles is flashing some kung fu moves with a nose of dusty red fruit, earth, some subtle funkiness and candle wax.  The palate is full of sour currant, cranberry, peat bog and tart cedar notes with a tart sweet cherry bark finish.

These Luchadors are showing some contrasting styles which corresponds to their location and styles in the Rhone valley.  The Les Brunelles is from the North while the Nota Bene is styled after Southern Rhone style wines.

Round 1 goes to Nota Bene after throwing Les Brunelles to the canvas.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The Nota Bene is changing up, light on its feet, with a  nose showing some floral notes along with dark red fruit, cedar, cracked pepper and some herbal green pepper notes.  The palate is dark fruit, pepper and smoke with atart pepper finish.

Les Brunelles swoops in on the Nota Bene going for a a double arm bar lock out with a nose of smoky barnyard funk and sweet dark black fruit with a bit of black pepper.  The palate features sweet dark fruit, plums, earth, pepper and leather with a tart cedar finish.

This round was close with a slight edge going to the Les Brunelles.

Round 3. One day after opening

Heading into the final round this match is all even at one round a piece.  Game on!

Nota Bene is showing no signs of slowing down.  In fact, this Luchador is bursting with fresh strength showing a nose of dusty earth, dark creamy savory soy, currant and licorice.  The palate has bulked up too like a Hulk Hogan double bicep pose featuring dark currant and pepper spices with a spicy tart cherry bark finish.

Not to be out done, Les Brunelles is showing some classic Rhone style with a nose of plum and creamy dusty tannins.  The palate is brimming with plum, dark fruit, tobacco and pepper with a tart cedar tobacco finish.

Another close round that needs to go to the judges for a final score.  Our esteemed panel convenes and delivers their verdict.  Note Bene is the winner!  A close match for sure with the Southern Rhone Style Luchador taking the victory.

Wrap up and overall observations
Both of these wines were worthy contenders with the Nota Bene taking the match by winning the third round.  Both Luchadors showed some excellent stamina, continuing to evolve well into the second day (third round) of the match.

I would give the Nota Bene a solid 88 and the Les Brunelles from A. Ogier & Fils an 87.

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