Irish Monkey Cellars
2006 Syrah - Lovall - Borneman Lavender Farm
$26 / 750 ml.

Almost everyone has now had "the great big jammy oak-soaked fruit-bomb" Syrahs, which are the trend in the last few years. Mr Lynch believes that the original character of Syrah itself is worthy of highlighting, so our Syrah is styled exactly that way: emphasis on the fruit, with only enough oak to compliment the flavor profile, not to overwhelm it.

The Lovall valley is a beautiful open pocket-valley in Napa county that one accesses by way of Old Winery Road (in Sonoma!). The Bornemans have an expansive section of rolling hillside, where they primarily grow fluffy honey-bee covered tufts of Lavender. And whether it be though suggestive influence or real, there is a hint of Lavender in their Syrah grapes. The vines produce rather heavily, but the hillside and rocky soil ensures that the extraction is dark, the tartness clear and the potential alcohol moderate.

Our Lavender Ranch Syrah, due to its decidely fruit-forward character, compliments foods that like a good dry distinctive wine - such as dried fruits (figs, apricots and pineapple), mild soft cheeses, Artisan breads, butter-sauce finished flake fish, and of course almost anything in the 'spicy/Thai/Indian' angle. The subtle orange-blossom, Lavender, red plum and over-the-top rasberry seem to bring out the exoticness of South and Western Indian cuisienne. Thai "Holy Basil" just loves the interplay of fruit that our Syrah brings to a good spicy Chicken Masaasong.

Note - the majority of France's "Great Syrahs" show a powerful earthen / leathery character, which is a consequence of the terroir as well as shorter growing season. The Bornaman's Lavender Estate goes on to produce these aromas, but lower in tone, with the fruit more dominant.


Temperature Cool-to-Room Temperature With the fruit dominant the slight chill on the wine brings out the 'tiny fruit' that usually get lost at warmer presentations. Think of "rasberries" and tiny gooseberries.
Glass Tall and not-wide The fruitier character of this Syrah becomes tightly focussed by a smaller glass than the giant balloons that work so well with Cabs and Zins. The tall stem encourages swirling, and this further brings forth the aromas.
Transition to

Cabernet Franc
Powerful Zin
Petit Sirah

The transition is vexed by needing simultaneously to have a more powerful wine follow ... yet also more fruity. There aren't many in the "power hitter" class that deliver. The list to the left though ... largely works.