Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wines I'm Drinking: 2008 Lockwood Vineyards Monterey County Syrah

At Trader Joe's recently I was approached by the wine buyer who asked if I needed any help. I didn't really, but I always answer that question the same way--by asking if  anything new has the buyer excited. He singled out this wine. I told him I generally wasn't a fan of California Syrah (often it's too fruity, too alcoholic, and too expensive--there are exceptions, of course; I recently had a very good 2005 Syrah from Balleto Ranch, for instance). In response, he suggested this one was atypical. I was sold when he said it was redolent (my word, not his) of violets. I'm a sucker for violets.

Well, I tried the wine. No violets that I could detect--none of that Southern Rhône velvet quality I was hoping for, and I don't think I'd buy this wine again, but I'll admit it was different and interesting--if not entirely satisfying. It was a deep purple-red, but not the inky purple-black that Syrah sometimes is. It looked appropriately young for a wine going on three years old. It had a fresh, grapey nose, but beyond that nothing I could really single out, at least at first. There was a hint of the typical Syrah pepper scent, but just a hint.

Most interesting, perhaps, was the texture of the wine. While it was fairly fruity and had a noticeable fruity sweetness on the finish, it seemed "chewy," with lingering, grainy tannins, and a low acid profile that gave the whole package something of the feel of cocoa in the mouth. I even suspected sediment, but I decanted the wine and didn't really find any. In the course of drinking a glass or two, the wine acquired a little more presence on the nose. My notes include "sandalwood," "chocolate cherries," "leather," "incense," "ladanum," and "boysenberry," but each of these words is followed by a question mark. A very difficult wine to describe. As I say, I can't exactly call the 2008 Lockwood Vineyards Syrah satisfying--it was too low in acidity to seem really vibrant to me and it somehow lacked focus--but, I think it worth tasting at least once, and, at only $5.99 a bottle at Trader Joe's, it's reasonably priced.

I have no financial or other connections with any producer or retailer of wine. For more wine reviews, use the "Wines I'm Drinking" label at top right

1 comment:

  1. I was really surprised to find the Lockwood label at Trader Joe's. At such a bargain price point, it seemed impossible to go wrong. For the price, it really can't be beat, as apparently Lockwood attempts expanding into other varietals.

    My personal favorite of theirs remains their Cabernet Sauvignon. I first tasted it in the mid to late 90's when coming across an interesting half-size 375ml bottle. Some of their more recent Cabs appeared in the 5-cent wine BevMo sales.

    Helpful to those of us with limited treasures, esp. in present economies!


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