Outstanding California Wines
New reviews of Syrah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and more from across the Golden State, each priced under $40
2010 Landy Sweetwater Springs Petite Sirah - 93 pts Wine Spectator. A huge wine, not for the faint of heart. Offers vivid aromatics of coffee and campf...
"Philary Vineyards located at almost 1000 feet above sea level overlooking the southern part of the Napa Valley. The vineyard consists of two separate blocks, each with 250 Syrah vines. The first block was planted in March 1996. The second block was planted in March 1998.
The planting of each block was a physical challenge created by the unique nature of the property. The combination of extremely rocky soil, steep slopes, uneven terrain and limited physical access precluded the use of any machines or equipment that would typically be used for vineyard preparation and installation. The property dictated that both blocks would have to be established by hand. Thousands of rocks were physically removed to try to clear the vineyard sites for planting which out of necessity was 3 feet between vines and 3 feet between rows (3x3). There was not enough soil existing for planting. Dirt was hand carried in 5-gallon buckets into the vineyard sites. Many rocks were too large to remove and remain in both blocks. As a result, the vine rows could not be made either straight or level." -Jeff Cohn
This is the finest Philary that we have ever produced, although we have much less of it, only 34 cases. Yields were low and the intensity up. To describe this wine, it would have to start with smoky almost inky gamey wild blackberry liqueur that has been immersed with a touch of lavender and black olives. A streak of minerality flows throughout the wine that gives it just the right structure to carry it through one of the most outrageous finishes I have ever had in a syrah.
Flamboyant notes of tapenade, smoked meats, blackberry liquer,
plums, and a hint of balsam emerge from this beautiful Syrah. Although
it was aged in 100% new French oak, the wine has sucked up the wook as
if it had never existed. Unbelievably rich, full-bodied, and
harmonious, it pushes the envelope on all levels. Drink this big,
pedal-to-the-metal Syrah over the next 10-12 years.
Intense and distinctive, with loads of spice and pepper. Rich and
fleshy on the palate, with ripe plum, currant and wild berry flavors
joining. Tannins are ripe and fleshy on a long finish. Drink now
From a steep, rocky, Napa vineyard, this wine has an opaque
saturated purple color in addition to a backward but promising nose of
smoke, blackberries, and spice. This closed Syrah requires considerable
aeration, but it is exceptionally concentrated, tannic, and among the
most primordial wines of this portfolio. Give it 2-3 years of bottle
age, and drink it over the following 10-12 years.
Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, forward, intense, jammy,
peppery, dark currant and blackberry fruit aroma with notes of charred
oak; full body; big, dense, herbal, jammy, viscous, mouth-filling, very
concentrated, very ripe blackberry and sweet raspberry fruit flavors
with overtones of creamy oak; full tannin; hard finish; lingering
aftertaste. Very highly recommended.
A big wine, that comes from rocky soils located at a 1.000 foot
elevation. Its blue/black color (reminiscent of vintage port) is
followed by a bouquet of mountain herbs intermixed with gamey scents
intertwined with blackberry, raspberry, and crushed rock-like
characteristics. It cuts a wide swath across the palate, revealing a
seamless integration of wood, acidity, tannin, and alcohol as well as a
blockbuster finish. This exotic beast is surprisingly accessible, but
promises to be even better in another 2-3 years. It should last for
A beefy, spicy, densely flavored style, with stewed plum, wild
berry, exotic spices and toasty oak that isn't overdone, but ideally
integrated. Shows spicy cola and pretty wood shadings on a finish that
soars. Drink now through 2009.
Another gorgeous offering, the 2001 Philary Vineyard Syrah reveals
an inky/purple color as well as aromas of ink, smoke, and black fruits.
This dense, full-bodied, chewy, huge, thick, impressive Syrah should
drink well for 10-12 years.
The most concentrated is the Amarone-like 2000 Syrah Philary
Vineyard. This huge, brooding effort offers a mouthful of black fruits
intermixed with smoke, earth, and licorice. Powerful, dense, and chewy,
with excellent purity, it is a substantial Syrah from this light
vintage. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.
Dark purplish ruby; very attractive, intense, plumy, jammy, peppery,
very ripe blackberry fruit aroma; full body; big, dense, highly
extracted, peppery, jammy, slightly sweet, very ripe black cherry and
blackberry fruit flavors; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Needs
several more years of bottle aging to resolve the tannin. Very highly
This dense, big bodied bottling wanders perilously close to ripeness
and comes up a little too hot for its own good. Its finishing heat
noted, it is still an exotic, concentrated, many layered wine whose
impressions of plums, pepper, loamy soil and chocolate make for a most
fascinating drink that will hit its peak in three to four years.