Cono Sur - 2008 20 Barrels Syrah

Well priced Cabernet Sauvignon is what first turned me on to Chilean wines many years ago. After discovering the great values available in that category I began to explore others as well. Over the years the other red from Chile that has most often impressed me is Syrah. There are many well priced examples coming from Chile. Stylistically they take cues from both the old and new world. Today I’ll look at a limited release Syrah from Cono Sur. The Cono Sur 2008 20 Barrels Syrah was produced using fruit sourced in the Limarí Valley of Chile. In addition to Syrah this wine also has a small amount (less than 3%) of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in. Fruit was hand picked and fermentation occurred over 30 days in stainless steel tanks. Barrel aging followed over the next 16 months. This wine has modest alcohol content of 13.6%. It sells for right around $19.

The first thing that’s apparent about this 2008 Syrah is the deep, dark, inky, purple hue that springs from the glass with brooding intensity. The nose is loaded with brambly fruit, leather, dust, cigar box and an underlying wisp of thyme. Crushed cherry flavors with a velvety edge lead the palate which is intense and full flavored in its attack. Blackberries and copious spice notes follow. They all lead to an intense and layered finish which shows off chicory, tobacco, black pepper, earth, sour cherry and a hint of dark dusty baker’s chocolate. Fine acidity keeps things balanced.

This is a really nice Syrah that provides tons of varietal character and lots of bang for the buck. A perfect wine to pair with roast pork dishes such as Pernil or even BBQ. This one is worth the effort to seek out. Drink it over the next 2-4 years for maximum pleasure.