The Brooklyn Bridge, 1883, by Currier & Ives

Wine for our American holiday, from a private collection

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Arnot-Roberts 2012 North Coast Syrah

The anti-hedonistic Syrah returns.  Whole cluster fermented for a deep, savory structure.  Grapes come from Baker Lane near Sebastopol in Sonoma Coast AVA, Clary Ranch, Griffin's Lair and La Cruz vineyards in the Petaluma Gap area of the Sonoma Coast AVA, and Alder Springs Vineyard in northern Mendocino AVA.

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Edmunds St. John 2012 El Dorado County Syrah Fenaughty Vineyard

Syrah in California has had PR problems for quite a while. Once considered to be a contender to king Cabernet, the late 90s and early aughts saw thousands of acres of new Syrah plantings. The wines then piled up unsold as many labels had trouble convincing Americans of the virtues of this noble, Northern Rhone variety. Vines planted in areas far from ideal from the grape's favorite hillsides in France didn’t help the cause, as the resulting wines were marked by excess fruit, alcohol, and an overall flaccid, "jammy" personality.  This is tragic, because on the right soils and elevations, Syrah in California can create wines that combine power and finesse. Perfect example: El Dorado County's Fenaughty Vineyard. At 2,800 feet (higher than much of the Rhone's mountain vineyards), the loamy, volcanic soils provide ideal conditions for the grape. Steve Edmunds’ 2012 has concentration, but also an invigorating, floral component and a long, well-structured finish. Bravo Steve! John Rankin

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