2006 Le P’tit Paysan Syrah

Today is a good day.  I decided it was finally time to upgrade from my old Macbook that burns my legs every time I use it and buy myself a new Macbook Air.  It’s so pretty.  This blog is the new computer’s maiden voyage into the world of The Sybarite.  And, to celebrate my new toy I decided some wine and a nice dinner were in order.  To be fair, I was going to open a bottle of wine come hell or high water just because it’s Saturday night.  There really isn’t much that could stop me.

I decided to crack open a bottle I picked up at a tasting room in Carmel, CA.  I really debated whether or not to blog about this bottle because I don’t think it is available anywhere anymore except the tasting room.  I really want to make sure that the things I blog about are available online for my readers to pick up so you can try them too, and especially if you are a budding Sybaritette, to be able to taste along and have this help you pick out some flavors you may not be able to put your finger on.  I decided to break my own rule because this stuff is really good and some of their other wines (that I definitely recommend) are available online.

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I found a decent ribeye steak at Safeway, which sometimes proves difficult given their usual meat selection.  I live in an apartment and don’t have a grill so I have to make it under the broiler in the oven.  I am no chef, but I know my way around a kitchen.  However, cooking a steak properly without using a grill was something I had to master when I started apartment living.  I made the steak and made a quick beurre rouge with this wine by reducing some of the wine in the steak pan and loosening up the browned leftover meat bits in the pan and then throwing in a good knob of butter.  The result is a nearly religious experience.

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This wine is exactly what I want from a Syrah.  It’s right in the middle of the range as far as body goes.  Not too light but also isn’t going to kick you in the teeth.  It’s an extremely earthy wine.  You get really rich, wet earth flavors paired perfectly with dark cherry flavors.  I had been drinking a lot of central California coast Syrahs and while this is a local winery, this fruit was pulled from the Russian River Valley in Northern California.  It is so fun to see the difference in growing region make such a difference for this grape.  Enveloping your whole mouth with big, round flavors, it lingers on your taste buds in the best way possible.  Syrah does really well with steak in general, but this one doesn’t overpower you with tannin.  You get enough of the tannin component to balance out the steak but it isn’t enough for a gamier red meat like lamb.  I like my reds with a more fruit-forward profile so I am trying hard to temper my absolute love for this bottle in the post.  With enough complexity to keep you busy while drinking it on it’s own, this wine makes for a great night with or without food.  I happened to think it paired perfectly with my steak but now as I sip on a glass after dinner, I am really appreciating its depth.  It is one of those wines that keeps showing you something new every time you take a sip.

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Le P’tit Paysan is a recent discovery of mine.  They are usually pretty good about getting their stuff reviewed and onto wine.com and such but somehow I had missed trying their wines.  I have now had several of their wines and this is by far my favorite.  They also bottle a Chardonnay that is done in a Chablis style which makes it really light and delicious.  It is actually pretty rare for Chardonnays coming from this area but is a welcomed change.  A lot of their wines are scoring 90+ points and are well deserving of this rating.  So while I broke my own rule of reviewing a wine that isn’t readily available, I am justifying it by saying that there are other wines from this winery that are available online.  I love the label art too.  The first bottle I had from Le P’tit Paysan actually came from a local independent grocer and I asked the owner about the wine.  He told me that for the longest time he wouldn’t stock the wine because he didn’t like the label and he didn’t think people would buy it.  It’s curious because this is what made it stand out to me on the shelf.  Label aside, it is what’s on the inside that matters and it is clear that they take their wine very seriously.

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