We are wine club members with Joseph Phelps and receive about four shipments a year. Of that my husband cellars all of the Insignia and Backus Cabernet Sauvignon blends we receive, I always keep out the Syrah for me and Pinot Noir for that one friend that LOVES Pinot. (We all have one! LOL, it’s a running joke at my house, we have many Burgundy and Pinot loving friends.) Anyway, this 2015 Syrah was quite nice, and deserved a One Bottle Post.
2015 Joseph Phelps *Syrah
Notes on the Grapes
*Grapes used in the wine are not listed on back label, so that means it could be up to 25% something other than Syrah. I recently learned (at Denner in Paso Robles) that a little bit of a white Rhône might be added in to maintain the color. So I thought this could be one additional grape. But due to the smoothness and dark quality I also guessed maybe some Mourvedre. Hubby was thinking they moved over to a Bordeaux grape or maybe a Petite Sirah. After all this contemplation I googled the wine and went straight to the Joseph Phelps website. Learned that I was right on one part, there was a white Rhône in the mix, “95% Syrah from the Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard in Carneros and 5% Viognier from the St. Helena Home Ranch.” And I was woefully off base thinking there was any other red in the mix! Still so much fun to guess, I highly recommend you do this with your own tastings.
Color: Dark purple, deeper purple on the edge, opaque.
Aroma: Nutrient rich earth, well-worn suede, sweet blackberries, creamy chocolate milk and mellowed spices.
Flavor: There’s the spice I was looking for, front and center on the palate! That same blackberry as well as black cherry, and a little espresso followed it on the finish.
Fifteen minutes later: The aroma held the same tempting earth, fruit, chocolate, spice and now a little tobacco and black licorice. On the palate, and maybe this was because I had been sipping for a few minutes, it seemed rounder. The spices and fruit were in a nicer harmony, and my palate was happy for dark velvetiness.
Pairing: We had already planned on Mexican for dinner: pork and chicken tamales, refried beans and Mexican rice. Figured the spice in the wine would hold up just fine against our mild salsa, and the fruit would soften any heat in the tamales. I was correct, except that the wine eclipsed the food many times over, and I saved a final glass for after dinner sipping. (And in case you are wondering, yes, I’m the type of person that would love to bring wine into a Mexican restaurant, why not? Because hubby has to have his usual Cadillac Maggie.)
Conclusion: 94 Eve pts.
I always feel justified in supporting a winery I like by purchasing their wine or joining their wine club. Sometimes we personally know the owner or winemaker, or just had a great experience. With Phelps, it’s always been the experience. The Tasting Room overlooks a nice slice of the Napa valley – and their vineyards – it’s a breathtaking view to take in while tasting their long-exalted wines.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.