Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2008 Syrah

The December installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2008 Syrah from some of the most iconic domestic producers. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle on New Year’s Eve and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

2008 was an average vintage for both California and Washington. Nonetheless, these producers never seem to disappoint.

The Contenders:

2008 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill – The compelling, blockbuster 2008 Syrah Cardiac Hill (40% whole clusters/stems used) was aged in 30% new French oak casks. This -blood of Syrah- effort boasts an inky/purple color as well as a thick, viscous, high octane personality. The bouquet offers up scents of beef blood, blood oranges, graphite, blueberries and flowers. This is an exceptionally rich, nuanced, world-class Syrah with good underlying minerality as well as great focus and precision for a wine of such mass and richness. While it is already hard to resist, it should evolve for a decade or more. 96 points from the Wine Advocate.

2008 Lillian Syrah – Glass-staining purple. Deeply pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, incense, olive tapenade and fruitcake, with smoke and violet notes gaining power with air. Rich and broad but almost shockingly energetic, offering sweet, liqueur-like blackberry and boysenberry flavors and exotic spice and floral pastille qualities. Intense and focused on the extremely long finish, which strongly repeats the floral and spice notes. I had the chance to retaste the 2007 Lillian this fall, and while it appears to have closed down a bit since this time last year, it is still a complex, compelling and extremely alluring wine. As rich as it is, it doesn’t come off as overblown or overtly decadent. 94 points from Stephen Tanzer.

2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard –  The 2008 Armada Vineyard Syrah takes the longest to come around according to Christophe Baron. It was aged in puncheon for 22 months. Smoked meat, game, Asian spices, lavender, and blueberry are just some of the scents composing the wine’s aromatic array. In the glass it opens to reveal a pure, rich, elegant but powerful wine with a 60-second finish. It, too, will drink nicely for 10-12 years. I’m a bit cautious on my aging potential estimates because of the lack of a track record, but 10-12 years is a certainty in a cold cellar. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2008 Syrah Should I Open?

  • 2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard (45%, 22 Votes)
  • 2008 Carlisle Syrah Cardiac Hill (31%, 15 Votes)
  • 2008 Lillian Syrah (24%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 49

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the January installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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8 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2008 Syrah

  1. 2008 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard! Sounds incredible. Can’t wait to see your tasting notes. Terry Hill, Texas Wineaux

  2. Picked the Lillian because I have never heard of it! Always want to learn more about wines I have not tried.

  3. I have second label Syrah from Lillian that I haven’t tried, so that is basis of my vote. All have wonderful reviews

    1. Lillian has the regular label and the blue label. The blue label is their “reserve” wine. I guess I had never thought of the regular label as a second label. Semantics I guess.

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