Herzog and Four Gates Wines

This past week we met with some friends and I must admit we brought the dud of the evening 😦 which is a real shame.  Herzog Winery makes some fantastic wines, but the Syrah Special Reserve line is one that is fantastic right out of the chute.  I have had a few of my friends get burned on this wine line.  The 2001 vintage was supposed to be the bomb, and in the end, it bombed.  The 2003 vintage was even better out of the chute, yet unfortunately it too has met a similar demise.  All I can say for now on this varietal follows the adage from my hometown (Chicago – go WhiteSox) – drink early and often 🙂 .  And if you wish to test fate – buy one more at most and if it is the bomb feel blessed, and if it bombs, chalk it up to another learning experience (albeit a bit of an expensive one).

So if my donation to the evening was the dud, all we can say is that the Four Gates Winery wines we had were the hits.  The evening started with a Four Gates Cabernet Franc 2005 and ended with a Four Gates Syrah 2004, with my dud was sandwiched between them.  In closing, to be fair, the 2003 vintage of Herzog Syrah Special Reserve may be a poor showing of its original self, but the new vintages are doing fine – and showing well, just drink them now and enjoy.

In order of what we drunk – best wishes!

Four Gates Cabernet Franc 2005 – Score: A-
The Four Gates Cabernet Franc was a real joy to drink, it is a classic Cabernet Franc with a Tasmanian Devil attitude.  I need to stress that this is not a copy of one of my favorites which is a Cabernet is a Franc’s clothing.  Nope this one is a real Franc – but with a bit of tude to boot.  The nose on this dark garnet colored wine just explodes with cranberry, cherry, raspberry, and vegetal notes.  Stopping for a editorial comment – a Cabernet Franc must have floral, berry, and herbaceous flavors to make it a Franc to me – end of editorial.  This one has all of those along with an acid core that solidifies the wine’s body.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine explodes with a red fruit attack that is wrapped in an acidic core that tames the fruit, while accentuating the fruit quality.  The mid palate is filled with continued acidic notes and lovely herbaceous flavors.  The finish is long and filled with fruit and wood shavings.  All and all a real winner.  This one stood up to some serious food, but I would not throw it at lamb or such.

Herzog Syrah Special Reserve 2003 – Score: B
This line of wines (Herzog Syrah Special Reserve) need to be drunken early – maybe two to three years after the vintage year. They must be doing something to them to make them so accessible early. They have no cellar life – a real shame!!! The spicy, fruity, and tar flavors are long gone. The color is still a nice purple, but the nose has gone south. There are aromas of blackberry, oak, and a bit of nutmeg. The mouth of this medium-full bodied wine is almost fruitless at this point. There are still hints of black fruit. The mid palate has a slight burn of alcohol and the finish is woody with a hint of pepper.

Four Gates Syrah 2004 – Score: A-
This wine was enjoyed with the last bit of lamb and then continued on to desert.  When thinking about the wonderful lamb – only one word comes to mind – steamrolled.  The poor lamb had no idea what hit it.  The Syrah continued its assault on the peach cobbler and the two were actually quite a nice pair, though not as nice as the lamb pairing.  The sugar in the cobbler was nice with the acidity and body of the Syrah, but the spicy and tangy flavor of the lamb paired better with the acidic and full bodied Syrah.  Enough editorial.  To be truly fair this wine needs a few hours of airing – as the alcohol flavor blows off by then and the lovely fruit, tar and inky flavors come pouring out.  The nose on this purple colored wine (with orange halos) is filled with blackberry, tar, and tons of oak.  The mouth on this full bodied wine is packed with black fruit; blackberry and plum along with a huge inky and viscous mouth-feel.  The wine almost levitates in your mouth, almost like time stands still while it wishes about in your mouth.  The mid palate is filled with more ink characteristics and leather notes.  The finish is long and satisfying with notes of tar and wood.

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Posted on July 22, 2008, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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