Syrah Taste Off – Fog Head Syrah

syrah wines

Syrah wines in the blind taste off

Our Vintage Wine Tasting group met this week for our bimonthly blind tasting of wines in the value and bargain category. For this blind tasting, the focus was Syrah wines from California and under the $20 mark. Vintage Wine Taster Jim C did a thorough search for California Syrah wines in this price range and purchased a good number to try and evaluate. He selected his six favorites, describing them as all notable Syrah wines that were all very enjoyable, “Not a dog in the bunch!”

Jim selected Syrah wines from Santa Barbara, the Sierra Foothills, Paso Robles and Monterey for the tasting. These are the wines in our blind tasting and how they ranked from top to bottom.

  • 2012 Fog Head (Delicato) Monterey – BevMo (5 cent sale) $17.95
  • 2011 J. Lohr South Ridge, Paso Robles – BevMo $12.99
  • 2012 Andrew Murray “Tous les Jours,” Santa Ynez Valley – $12.99 Costco
  • 2010 Terre Rouge “Les Cotes de I’Quest,” Sierra Foothills – $16.99 K&L Wines
  • 2009 Stickybeak Monterey/Napa County – $14.99 K&L Wines
  • 2011 Qupé Central Coast – $15.99 K&L Wines, BevMo
Scoring and tabulating

Scoring and tabulating

Fog Head Syrah

We agreed that each wine in its own right was excellent and worthy of a recommendation for a purchase. These are nicely-made Syrah wines that showcase the characteristics of this varietal. The surprise of the day was the Fog Head Syrah produced by the Delicato Family. It is one of the wines included in the current BevMo 5 Cent Sale. That means, when you buy the wine in pairs, the bottle price comes to $9 a bottle or $108 a case. That is quite a bargain, especially when you consider the other wines in the tasting. For what it is worth, BevMo’s wine critic Wilfred Wong rates the Fog Head Syrah at 93 Points. Five of the nine Vintage wine tasters ranked this wine at the top of their lists.

Curiously the Syrah with the most notoriety and praises in the world of wine critics, the Qupé, came in at the bottom of our list. Wine critic Antonio Galloni rates the Qupé at a whopping 91 points. Perhaps the Vintage Wine Tasters’ palates are not quite as acute as Antonio’s.

Jim followed the tasting with a delicious luncheon consisting of a Caprese salad and a pasta dish with chicken, broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. For dessert it was vanilla ice cream and home-made brownies. Good job, Jim! In case you are wondering how we share the cost: we each contribute $20 a person to the host to pay for the wines. Lunch is on the host, but since we rotate this among our group, the luncheon costs even out.

Vintage wine taster Ray will host the next tasting. Ray will begin in earnest his search for Spanish wines made from the Garnacha grape. This should be an exciting tasting.

Any Spanish wine producers care to send samples?

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