Shortly after I started the blog, I was invited to attend a huge, big-deal wine event featuring five of California ?s best-known expensive red blends, including Dominus and Opus One. The wines were all terrific, if terribly expensive and kind of same-tasting, and I had a surprisingly good time.
The irony in this ? because, given that it involves the Wine Curmudgeon, there is always irony ? is that none of the five were my favorite that day. The wine I liked the best was a $30 syrah from Terlato Family Vineyards, which sponsored the event. It was very little like the red blends, earthy and distinctive.
Since then, I have always appreciated Terlato ?s syrah, and the Block #9 ($48, sample) did nothing to change my mind. It combines a New World focus on fruit with the Terlato earthiness that takes syrah in a direction it doesn ?t go often enough.
Look for beautiful fruit, with a peppery aroma and blueberry notes that last through the entire wine. The finish isn't quite as long or what one would expect from a wine at this price; in this, it ?s still young and the finish should flesh out over time.
This is Christmas beef wine, ready to drink now, or a gift for someone who wants to put it down for another couple of years. Availability may be limited, which is about the only bad thing I can say about it.