2005 Napa Valley Syrah
Syrah • Estate Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What we say
At the Wine Spies special price of just $20.00, today’s wine drinks way above it’s price class. While industry insiders keep telling Burgess to raise it’s price on this wine, Burgess resists – resulting in a wine whose QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) makes it an exceptional value!
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Mission Codename: Return to The Eastern Slopes
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: In 2008, Burgess’ 2004 Syrah became our fastest-selling Syrah of all time. Send Agent Red to rendezvous with Steve Burgess where he is to procure samples of today’s 2005 Burgess Syrah. While meeting with Steve Burgess, bestow upon him his own official Wine Spies Agent Name, Agent Kingpin
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Burgess Vineyard
Wine Subject: 2005 Syrah
Winemaker: Bill Sorenson
Backgrounder: Our Operatives love a great Syrah, and they snap them up in record numbers. Today’s Syrah is a beautiful and delicious interpretation of the noble varietal. The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s delightful Syrah is a big and bold delight with richly dark flavors, deep aromatics and a plush mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red, with a darker core and concentrated color out to the edge of the glass. On swirling, this wine shows a springy and fast-settling surface. When the wine does settle, it leaves behind tight clusters of skinny legs
Smell – Fruit forward, lush and red, with layers of Bing black cherry, raspberry and red plum leading the way. These are followed by blackberry, plum, earth, oak and spice. All of these sit atop softer hints of cedar and smoked meats
Feel – Medium weight at the tip of the tongue, then the wine settles in all over the palate with a voluptuous feel. After a few moments, fine medium-grained tannins show up, drying the lips and cheeks as mouth is coated with rich flavors
Taste – Delicious and rich, a blend of the fruit from the nose, mingled with darker flavors of dried meats, smoky mixed berry, smoky oak and soft black licorice. These are followed by hints of spice, subtle dark herbs and dark minerals
Finish – Leads off with big red and black fruit flavors which seem to linger for a long time before they begin to fade gradually. The wine begins dark and smoky-fruity, then tails off with more earth and dark minerals
Conclusion – We absolutely adored the 2004 vintage of this wine – but we are in love this vintage of the wine! I love tasting successive vintages of the wines we review; It is one of the blessings of this vocation as a Wine Spy. 2005 was a cooler year than 2004, and this produced some dramatic differences and imbuing this particular wine with a distinctly more Rhone qualities than the previous vintage. Our spy hats are, once again, off to Burgess. Each vintage seems to be better than the last, and that is really saying a lot. Burgess is one of the oldest wineries in St. Helena and their years of experience shines through with this beautiful wine. If you loved the 2004, you’ll adore today’s 2005!
What follows is Agent Red’s first encounter with Burgess Cellars. Now that we have a mole deep within the Burgess organization, procuring specials like today’s pre-release allotment is a snap. Please enjoy this mission recap:
In which Agent Red has enjoyed a few glasses of today’s 2004 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon – and finds himself waxing poetic. Or does he?
Ode to Burgess and their fanTAStic Cabernet Sauvignon
Your wines appeal
they make us feel
to the Mountain Howell
The true soul of your wine shines
in the tall pours that I desire
Your Cab is beyond compare
_In which Agent Cuvee, sensing that Agent Red is not the Pablo Neruda of wine, steps in and stops Agent Red from writing any more poetry.
Okay, Red, put down the pen and go get some rest. I got this one.
Greeting Dear Operatives. Agent Red had to, umm, leave. I’m taking over this briefing.
All of us here at Wine Spies Central Command agree: Bill Sorenson is a winemaker of remarkable talent. All of his wines shine with a uniqueness and distinctiveness and all of his wines taste great. The fantastic Howelll Mountain fruit grown on the Burgess estate doesn’t hurt, either.
We recently had the great fortune to taste through all of his current release red wines and it was his Cab that really stood out as our favorite. With bright fruit, a tender mouth feel and a rich finish, this wine is not a massive monster Cab that bullies your senses. This is a refined wine that is real pleasure to spend quality time with.
During our tasting, we found ourselves discussing this wine at length. It was really interesting to pull apart and describe in detail all of the aromas and flavors that the wine conveys. With its bright acidity, we suspect that the wine would pair nicely with most anything. We were hoping to enjoy it with the meal we had planned for later that evening, but Agent Red seemed to have enjoyed most of the remaining bottle, leaving none for our dinner. Alas. At least it led to some poetry that we can tease him about – once he returns from his latest mission!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Burgess Cellars in Napa Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Kudos and Accolades:
Best Buy “A super ripe Napa Valley Syrah, this has the dense fruit richness of the style, along with plenty of alcohol and tannin to balance that black fruit.” –Wine and Spirits
“Wow, a syrah with table manners!” – Thomas Verdillo, Tommaso’s
“Intense and focused, with lively blueberry, blackberry and wild berry flavors that are full-bodied and firmly tannic, ending with a rustic, minerally edge.” –Wine Spectator 02/09
“… Burgess’ Napa Valley Syrah ‘05 is made from a mix of Syrah grapes grown on the valley floor at Yountville and grapes grown on the Eastern slopes of Howell Mountain – including 10% Grenache, which accentuates the wines fruit. But it’s the growing conditions of the ’05 vintage and the extra time in bottle that give this wine its long, smooth finish.” – Gourmet Magazine – Recommended “Deep Roots” wines for Thanksgiving, November 2009
About This Wine:
The brilliant wine is a gorgeous black- ruby color showing off its hue around the edges. The pure, vibrant aromas are of blackberries, blueberries, allspice, and sweet flowers, including a hint of gardenia. A backbone of vibrant acidity gives this wine a refreshing palate, much like biting into a crisp, ripe plum. Chefs will love how this wine interacts with food because of its balance, complexity, and richness. This wine will complement various foods from grilled vegetables and meats to beet salads with goat cheese and toasted pine nuts to hummus and baba ganoush. As a first course wine, it handles higher acid foods with ease and leaves the palate cleansed.
Description: 2005 was a harvest where aggressive actions yielded us a wonderful harvest. There was a tremendous heat wave during harvest, and to bring the fruit in as it matured required bring on extra picking crews to work full days. If it were not for that, we could have had compromised our wine. We carefully fermented the wine, using a good amount of aeration during the primary fermentation to assist the yeast. 18 months of barrel aging took place in 50/50 American and French Oak, 25% of which were new. The low ratio of new oak is to preserve the beauty of the grape.
About The Winery:
Burgess Cellars, located on the slopes of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, focuses on creating exceptional, hand-crafted estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah.
Burgess traces its origins to an original winery on the property in the 1880’s. Since 1972, Napa Valley pioneer Tom Burgess and his family have followed the belief that it is vital to grow only those varietals ideally suited to a particular vineyard’s soil composition, sun and wind exposure, and overall micro-climate. The French refer to this as “terroir,” and it certainly explains the consistent aromas and flavors found in the hillside Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon.
Over the years three distinct estate vineyard sites have been cultivated and nurtured to create the very best handcrafted wines. The Burgess flagship wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, thrives on the western slopes of Howell Mountain near the winery; Merlot is ideally suited to the Triere Vineyard on the Napa Valley floor in the Oak Knoll AVA just south of Yountville; Syrah is perfectly matched to conditions in the estate vineyard site on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain.
Burgess is somewhat unique in the Napa Valley today, in that it is truly a family-owned winery which has employed the same gifted winemaker, Bill Sorenson, since the winery’s re-birth in 1972.
Region: Napa Valley, California
Grape Variety: 90% Syrah, 10% Grenache
Vineyard location: Estate Vineyard on Eastern side of Howell Mountain above Pope Valley
Winemaking data: 100% malolactic
Bottle size: 750ml