Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2003 Olabisi Knights Valley "Betsy's Vineyard" Syrah

Everyone, including me, loves winning something. Recently, I won three wines in a contest run by Jill of Domaine547. I was very happy to receive those wines and opened one of them the other night to accompany my steak tip dinner.

The 2003 Olabisi Knights Valley "Betsy's Vineyard" Syrah ($21.99) is from Sonoma, California. The winery's name, "Olabisi," is a Nigerian word meaning "joy multiplied." The winery was founded in 2002 by Kim Wedlake and Ted Osborne, a husband and wife team. Ted is the wine maker and he has worked at wineries all over the world, including places like Australia, South Africa and France. They now make small production wines, seeking to create distinctive wines.

Less than 200 cases of this particular Syrah were produced. When I opened this bottle, strong aromas of ripe dark fruits wafted up, enticing me to taste it. I poured some of the very dark, purplish-colored wine into my glass. When I tasted it, I realized this was a big wine, rich and concentrated, and I was very glad I had steak to accompany it. The primary flavors were fruit, ripe plum and bluberries, lush and smooth. There was almost no spice component as some Syrahs possess, and the other flavors were mere hints, such as a touch of earthiness. It did not remind me of an Australian Shiraz or even a French Rhone. It had a long and satisfying finish.

Over the course of my meal and the rest of the evening, the wine seemed to open up more, showing additional depth and complexity. Maybe I should have decanted this for a time before dinner. I did enjoy it with dinner, but liking it even more as time passed. The wine does need to be paired with a hearty meal, such as a nice roast or steak. For its price, I think it is a good value and I would recommend it.

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