Monday, May 24, 2010

**** Chez Ray Syrah Meritage, 2003 - Lodi, CA

Original Review, January, 2009: This is a mix of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc grapes from Valley Oaks Vineyards in Lodi, CA. Fermentation was warm in Pasteur Red yeast, pressing upon dryness. Earlier I tried a version of this called simply "Chez Ray Meritage", with a similar grape mixture - although the straight Meritage had a zinfandel instead of the cabernet franc. Syrah is the lead grape in this mix.

Color is similar to Chezy Ray Meritage 2003, with medium red touched by a hint of purple. Aromas are balanced, no plum overtones - seem mostly cabernet-esque. Palate opens with a full, round, lightly sweet middle, followed on by oakiness from the French oak chips used in aging. Balanced, accessible, pleasant. Very friendly. I would stay with this for an evening, so I'll go with four stars on the Spirit of Wine scale. No need for further aging - excellent drinking window now.

Updated Review, almost a year and a half later, May, 2010:  Color now has hints of brick along with the purple.  Sweet oak on the nose along with plums.  Still full, even middle with toasty, warm oakiness.  Holding up well.

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