In 1972, Tom Burgess purchased an old winery on the western slope of Howell Mountain, overlooking Napa Valley, when there were just a handful of wineries in the region. Over the intervening years, as more and more wineries were built around and below him, Tom quietly transformed his little mountainside property into one of Napa Valley’s most respected artisanal producers of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. He prides himself on matching these varieties with his vineyards’ most suitable soil types, climate, and exposure. Tom farms three hillside estate vineyards, and the fruit from these sites yields wines that are firmly structured, intensely flavorful, fruit-and-mineral complex, and ageworthy. This Syrah exemplifies that style, offering earthy yet elegant aromas and flavors of black currants and dark fruit, coffee, tobacco, roasted nuts, and toasty oak. There are some wisps of smoke and leather in the mix, as well, which hint of the Northern Rhone. This 2009 Syrah is still young and firm, so decanting is a must at this point; but the wine will continue to unfold with ever more enjoyment over the next 5-10 years, or so. Right now it pairs well with rich meat dishes — especially steak and game.
Availability: Burgess produced 2,002 cases of the 2009 Syrah, and it can be found (or ordered through) fine wine merchants or directly from the winery at www.burgesscellars.com.