We first came across Wrath Wines several years ago at a Rhone Rangers trade tasting of mostly syrah wines. We got in free, although we can’t remember now if tickets were sold or if the event was even open to the public.
However, most of what the participating wineries were pouring were syrahs from 2011, a particularly challenging year for California wine, and those wines were, well, pretty lousy.
Except for the syrah from Wrath Wines. So when we decided to do a lesson on syrah, we naturally thought of Wrath’s winemaker, Sabrine Rodems.
Rodems told us that she had been a stagehand, then decided to go back to school in a pre-med program. However, when she decided that medicine was probably not her thing, after all, her sister told her that the family needed an enologist.
“It was a joke,” Rodems said, adding that her family was mostly scientists of some sort. “We were all into food and wine. The beauty of being a winemaker is that it’s both art and science.”
The thing to remember about syrah, she said is that it can be strong.
“It has a huge amount of flavor,” she said.
But how much and what kind of flavors tends to depend on where the syrah grapes are grown.
“Cool-climate syrah tends to be more plummy,” Rodems said.
Syrahs from Paso Robles, which has a warmer climate, tend to be meatier, with hints of bacon. Hers tend to have lots of spice, fruit such as black cherry, nutmeg, cloves, sometimes even a hint of juniper.
As for what to serve with it?
“It just depends on your mood,” Rodems said. For example, if it’s a Friday night, you can uncork one to relax with before dinner gets to the house. “You can drink them by themselves.”
That being said, syrahs are still great with food.
“It definitely goes with meat,” Rodems said. “Lamb and syrah, you can’t go wrong there.”