Saturday, July 07, 2012

Review and Rating: ***+ Chez Ray Syrah, 2002, Yakima, WA, from 1999 vintage grapes

Original Review, May, 2008: This is the 2002 vintage of Chez Ray Yakima Syrah, vinted from Yakima, Washington, grapes grown during the 1999 season. The grapes were harvested in 1999, frozen and provided by Brehm Vineyards in 2002. (Freezing red grapes seems to create little problem in winemaking - in fact, some folks say it softens tannins, similar to what cold maceration does.)

In the glass, the wine is medium magenta in color, showing both purple and brick highlights - seemingly poised between youth and age. Aromas are yummy - yeasty and lightly-oaked deep fruit. Touch of shoe leather. Inviting.

On the palate, a top-note of toasty oak first hits the roof of your mouth, cascading to mild fruit in the middle. Light acids move to a modest finish. Nice tone overall. Age has done it well - but a couple more years wouldn't hurt it either. Three stars out of five.


Updated Review, over a year later, September, 2009: Wow. Age has done this well. Color has taken on a bit more brick. Aromas still of shoe-leather, less yeast. Palate even more rounded and velvet. Smooth, sweet acids swirl to a lingering finish. Now adding a plus to the three stars for voluptuousness.

Updated review, over two and a half years later, now 10 years from winemaking date, July, 2012:   This is the first 10-year-old Chez Ray I have sampled.  In the glass, it is medium dark dusty red.  Still shows a nose of yeast and shoe leather.  Soft, fresh, ripe and sweet blackberry fruit on the palate.  Clean finish.  Both acids and any tannins have folded into the ripe, soft fruit.  Doesn't show the sort of generic oxidation that sometimes comes of age with red wine, but instead shows a simple, mature appreciation of life.

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