Sawtooth Winery - 2005 Syrah

After spending the last few weeks looking at all California Wines, from Petite Sirah to Charbono it's time to take some time away from California. Sawooth Winery will be my focus for the next few days as I take a look at a handful of their releases. Sawtooth is an Idaho Winery that opened their doors 20 year ago as Pintler Cellars. The lands their vines are planted on now were in winemaker Brad Pintler's family previously as pastures farmed by his father. The Idaho wine industry is growing at a rapid rate, close to 20% each year. As the 2nd largest producer in the state, Sawtooth is helping to lead the charge. Just over a year ago "Snake River Valley" became Idaho's first AVA, an important designation that an area needs to be on equal footing with established and better-known regions of the world.

The first wine from Sawtooth WineryI'm looking at is a 2005 Syrah. 84% of the wine is varietal withSawtooth SyrahCinsault (7%), Mouvedre (7%) and Grenache (1%) making up the balance. The wine spent approximately 15 months in small oak barrels. 1,600 cases of this Syrah were produced. It's finished with a screw top closure and the suggested retail price is $12.99.

Light and dark plum notes as well as underlying vanilla characteristics make up the inviting nose of this wine. Loads of spice character, including both black and white pepper dominate the palate of this wine along with raspberry notes aplenty. The mid-palate is rich with firm tannins. Cherry and earth notes come out in the finish. This wine is fruit forward with good acidity and a nice balance. It drinks easily on it's own but will pair well with many foods. Just about anything grilled will work very terrifically.

What impressed me most about this wine is how smooth it is out of the bottle. With some time to breathe more complexity emerge to be sure. But from the outset this wine goes down easily with no rough edges to speak of. That said it's structured and complex enough to be interesting. It's closer in style to an old world Syrah. My best is it has at least 5 years of positive evolution ahead of it. For $12.99 though, you're not going to hesitate to crack this one open, whether it's to accompany a burger or to sip on your porch all by itself. Definitely recommended.

Coming Up: A Limited Production Chardonnay From Sawtooth Winery.

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