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Pick My Next Bottle – 2009 Syrah

The July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Syrah from the 2009 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

2009 was an average to slightly above average in California and Washington. However, I rarely worry about vintages when purchasing from these producers. Lillian, Carlisle and Cayuse seemingly deliver tremendous wines, year in and year out, regardless of conditions.

The Contenders:

  • 2009 Lillian Syrah –  Inky purple. Explosive aromas of candied dark berries, incense, violet and patchouli, with woodsmoke, olive and Asian spice nuances adding complexity. Lush, palate-coating black and blue fruit compote flavors are energized by bright spice and mineral notes. Picks up candied violet and licorice notes on the sweet, impressively long finish, which is given grip by late-arriving tannins. With its suave marriage of power and energy, this is built for the long haul. There’s no way I’d have guessed that this wine clocked in at 15.2% alcohol save for its fruit intensity. 94 points from Stephen Tanzer.
  • 2009 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill – The 2009 Syrah Cardiac Hill is a gorgeous, thrilling wine laced with bacon fat, tapenade, savory herbs and plums. It possesses gorgeous aromatic delineation and fabulous length. The intense, mineral-drenched finish argues for cellaring the wine for at least another 2-3 years, but readers are going to have a very hard time keeping their hands off this gem. Cardiac Hill is a very cold site. The wine (100% Syrah) was vinified with 40% whole cluster and aged in French oak barrels, 27% new. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.  93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard– A much more voluptuous, concentrated and obviously great Syrah, the 2009 Syrah Armada Vineyard yields lots of plum sauce, spice, licorice and crushed rock aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, layered, pedal-to-the-metal style. This is a great wine that will have 20-25 years of longevity.  97 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2009 Syrah Should I Open?

  • 2009 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard (37%, 23 Votes)
  • 2009 Lillian Syrah (35%, 22 Votes)
  • 2009 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill (28%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the August installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Peter L. Zachar #

    Lillian. Curious how the ’09 is doing.

    July 26, 2017
  2. Lon Snider #

    Lillian! How could I ever pick against it. Cheers Tom!

    July 26, 2017
    • Are you still buying off the mailing list?

      July 26, 2017
  3. David Povlak #

    I also picked the Lillian.

    July 26, 2017
  4. Dan Quinn #

    That Cardiac Hill Syrah is exceptional! I’d hate for you not to drink it now!

    July 26, 2017
  5. Kyle #

    Opened the ’10 Lillian a few weeks ago. Terrific!

    July 26, 2017
  6. Terry Hill #

    The Carlisle profile of bacon fat, tapenade, savory herbs and plums fits my palate of what a cool weather Syrah should taste like.

    July 27, 2017
  7. Will #

    For me it came down to Lillian and Cayuse. It just doesn’t seem right to open the Cayuse yet. Plus, I have a Lillian, so curious what to expect from this producer

    July 27, 2017
    • The great thing about Cayuse is you have to buy that 3 pack…so it makes it easier to open 1 on the early side.

      July 27, 2017

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