December 26, 2007

2000 La Sirena Syrah

Anyone unfamiliar with the name Heidi Barrett has either been hiding under a rock or just not focusing on any of the top notch, California cult wines to come out in the past 20 years. Her client list is long and distinguished with names such as Screaming Eagle, Grace Family Vineyards, Paradigm and others that she's put on the map, in my opinion. Many of her wines are highly sought after by collectors and prices can fetch in the hundreds of thousands. In 2000, a 6-liter bottle of Screaming Eagle sold for $500,000. Many of us will never have that kind of money to throw around on overpriced Cab but that's okay, because the "Wine Dive of Napa Valley" (As named by TIME Magazine) still produces more affordable wine under different labels. The current one under review is La Sirena, Heidi's own label that focuses on three varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Muscat Canelli.

Heidi created La Sirena in 1994, and in the winemakers own words - "I was looking for a name for my wine which would be as magical as I think wine is. La Sirena which means "the Mermaid" in Italian and Spanish is a way of representing two of my great passions". While the Screagle Cab's release price is about $500, many of the La Sirena offerings are a highly overlooked value. I sort of stumbled upon this wine at a local shop and I was kind of stunned to not only find a few bottles of La Sirena Cab still there but a bottle of Syrah from 2000? While you can't find this wine just anywhere, it's still out there at a good price if you live in California. It might not be at it's peak, but this wine is drinking exceptionally well right now. One of the most drinkable wines I've had in quite some time. Some have said this wine is over the top but I think it just needed time to settle down. At 13.2% alcohol with soft fruit this wine is nowhere close to some of the over the top high alcohol fruit bombs coming out of California. This wine was an absolute pleasure to drink and reminds me that I drink far too many wines to soon and before their full potential. Anyone in CA should seek this out. 2000 was the first offering of Syrah from La Sirena and it spent 19 months in 100% French Oak (40% new) with a tiny production of only 252 cases.

Tasting Notes:
A wonderful ruby red color with slight copper at the rim, the nose is full of deep earth, reminding me of soil or as some would say, 'forest floor'. Hints of licorice, pepper, and cherry dance in the glass as well. In the mouth this wine shows elegance with a silky mouthfeel, flavors of dark cherry and meats with very soft tannins. Nice acidity and good balance. One of the more pleasurable Syrah's I've had in a year or two.

Score: 91

Price: $45

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