Saturday, May 13, 2017

Black Ankle Vineyards Leaf Stone Syrah (2010)

A while back, I decided that I would pause doing wine and beer reviews on Chef Bolek, because I thought that I needed to focus on more cooking posts.  I did not stop trying new wines and beers; instead, I just did not review any of them.  But, then I got to thinking ... some of these wines and beers I may never get to try again.  These reviews are my way of trying to put down some of my thoughts.  Without such reviews, any of those insights would be dependent upon my memory and, given how busy I have been, would be most likely lost over time.  

One such wine is the Black Ankle Vineyards Leaf Stone Syrah (2010).  This wine is one that I have had in the past, but, for which I never wrote a review.  My beautiful Angel and I drank the bottles we had, and, that was it.  Or so I thought.  

A year or two ago, Black Ankle Vineyards reached into its library and released some of its wines to its club members (which, fortunately, includes my Angel and me).  One of the library wines is the Leaf Stone Syrah.  This wine is made with 100% Syrah grapes that are estate grown.  The wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 65% were new oak.  According to Ed Boyce, the owner of Black Ankle Vineyards, the wine has "juicy, complex flavors," and "was still improving."  That was in April 2013.  Just think about how that wine would be four years later ... in May 2017.

The 2010 Leaf Stone Syrah pours a deep crimson velvet color, suggesting a robust northern Rhône syrah.  The use of 100% Syrah grapes would get someone thinking about French Rhône appellations such as Côte Rôtie or Cornas, both of which produce Syrah wines using solely that grape.  According to Wine Folly, the best wines from Côte Rôtie offer aromas and flavors ranging from black raspberry, black currant, violet and chocolate, along with elements of olives, bacon fat, white pepper and charcoal smoke.  (Bacon fat and smoke?  Now, I am hungry.)  By contrast, the wines from Cornas are some of the most tannic, with elements of blackberry jam, black pepper, violet, charcoal, chalk dust and smoke.    That is quite a range.

The Black Ankle Leaf Stone Syrah does not have the strong tannins of a Cornas Syrah, and, the flavor profile borrows a little from both Côte Rôtie and Cornas.  There are definitely ripe raspberry and currant elements to both the aroma and the taste, which are somewhat jammy, but there is also some lighter fruit such as strawberry on the palate.  I did not sense any bacon fat or smoke, but there is an earthiness, especially in the aroma, of some chalk and oak.  This wine has aged very well, and, it represents one of the oldest wines that I have reviewed on this blog.

I have previously reviewed a Leaf Stone Syrah (2008), which was more of a blend.  I noted that wine was perfectly paired with beef or lamb dishes, whether grilled, broiled or braised.  This wine is an even better complement to such dishes, because of how it aged and how its flavor elements would pair well with red meat.  Or, it could just be enjoyed on its own, as this wine has been as I wrote this review.  


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