17 October 2009

Syrah Pur

I wasn't working intentionally on a 'Pur' theme here (although it's not a bad idea really), but I felt it only appropriate in context. When I went for this bottle of Syrah in early September, it wasn't my intention to have something mind-blowing, intellectually stimulating, or the perfect companion to braised lamb shanks. I just wanted something good to drink, something inexpensive, and Delas Freres seemed like a good place to start, though it wasn't my overarching goal to dive wantonly into a bottle from one of the northern Rhone's premier producers of Syrah. Again, I just felt like having a decent, even average bottle, and this one seemed to fit the bill: 2005 Delas Freres Crozes-Hermitage "Tour d'Albon" (12,5% abv).

I may be crazy, but there is just something natural, primeval and perfect about the nose on this wine: I can already tell it will be refreshing, not only from the alcohol content, but really from the nose. I don't detect any heat; I'm not assaulted by any outlandish aromas of candied cherry or milk chocolate: What I'm getting is subtlety, but in a very aristocratic way. I get what I associate with good Syrah-hickory bacon with a dash of pepper in the skillet, a hint of tobacco (cigarette butts really, but tobacco nevertheless), new leather, perfectly ripe and honest cherry, and some iron notes that waft in and out. The palate is just bright; it's not Marianas Trench deep, it's not Gobi Desert brooding, but it brings refreshment like I've never had from the northern Rhone (here, however, I do admit my adolescence with respect to the region). Focused flavors of cherry, pomegranate and not-too-intense cranberry give serious vigor to a palate with just enough grip and complexity to keep this as sophisticated as it is succulent. Syrah...pur.

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