Wine for July 4th: Qupé Syrah, Central Coast, California 2011

US Soccer may have lost, albeit heroically, to Belgium (a country about the size of Maryland) in the Fifa World Cup 2014 knockout stages.

axel witsel usa belgium 2014 world-cup

Rubbing it in.

But crying is un-American. We have the explosive bombast of July 4th to distract ourselves with this Friday.  Better yet, we can watch France lose to Germany.  So dab those (non-existent) tears with the flag.  Fire up that meat-annihilating grill.  And grab a bottle of American wine.

Qupé, Syrah, Central Coast, California 2011

In 1982, Bob Lindquist went indie, after having helped Zaca Mesa and Jim Clendenen found the Rhône Ranger revolution.  While the rest of California was fixated on Chardonnay and Cabernet, Bob started sourcing Syrah from Santa Barbara. Thirty years on Bob still makes this wine from there (with 25% from Edna Valley).

Qupe Syrah Central Coast 2011What does this history translate into:

Appearance: Clear but densely intense purple color is framed by a narrow, clear ruby edge. Thick veil-like legs cover the glass.

Aromas: Monumental, patriotic, boysenberry jam get clamped down by blackened firewood, fennel, nutmeg, and a light dust of vanilla powder. Something savory also lurks here…

Palate: It is dry, with mild acids and tannins, a nice lump of alcoholic heat that makes for a somehow balanced, plump medium body.  The texture seems light yet velvety.

Flavors: Again, dominate flavors are ripe and dried Boysenberry (that most American of crossings).  The smoke and oak step back to let this happen.  Yet something savory and soft vies for attention, like white wood, or, dare I say it white meat akin to roasted pork.  The length is medium plus.

Conclusions: Bob’s 2011 Syrah is Very Good (4 of 5). It nods to Southern France with Syrah, but is firmly American in its ripe, spiced, pleasant, yet funky style.  It will meld beautifully with hot dogs, burgers, barbeque, or just own you alone.  Drink it now, for he won’t be at the helm forever.

Happy 4th!

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