Powerful Yet Beautiful Amador County Syrah

Today’s Story: Favia Wines

I seem to be in a trend right now of revisiting wineries I previously wrote about, with my last post on Favia being in December of last year for their 2013 Linea Sauvignon Blanc.

Favia was founded in 2003 by viticulturist Annie Favia and winemaker Andy Erickson, a husband and wife duo. Annie has experience working with John Kongsgaard and Cathy Corison, though her viticulturist expertise came working under David Abreu. Andy also has an extensive resume, which includes winemaking stints at Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Ovid, Harlan Estate, and Staglin amongst others. Andy also consults for Arietta, Mayacamas, and Dancing Hares Vineyard.

I had an opportunity to visit Favia for a tour and tasting last year, and it truly is a special experience. Annie and Andy live on the property in a home built in 1886 for the Carbone family, who are believed to be the first Italian immigrants to Napa Valley. Though modernized, Annie and Andy restored the home using historical documents alongside other structures on the property. A very cool feature, the cellar sits under the family home and Favia stores their wine right where they live. Strong believers in biodynamic practices and caring for the earth, Annie and Andy planted fruit trees, an olive orchard, and a garden (which we got to try a tomato from) in addition to the existing walnut orchard.

I highly suggest a visit to Favia if you take a trip to Napa Valley, as it’s a very small, unique tasting experience and is not too far from downtown Napa. In the meantime, check out their website here to browse their wines and see incredible pictures of the property.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Quarzo Syrah

100% Syrah; 14.8% ABV

The 2014 Quarzo Syrah is opaque deep purple in color, though nearly black with fairly heavy staining. After about 45 minutes in the decanter, this really opened up nicely and the nose showcases aromas of blackberry compote, rich black plum, blueberry, black licorice, dried tobacco leaf, rocky earth, slight baking spice, and mild oak. There is some slight heat there too, but it’s not incredibly noticeable and should hopefully fully integrate with another couple years in bottle. On the palate, this classic Syrah offers notes of inky blackberry, black plum, black cherry, anise, tobacco, damp earth, slate, green peppercorn, and chocolate. This is full-bodied with medium acidity, medium (+) but polished tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $70. I think this wine is very appropriately priced based on its quality and true to variety form. This is a classic California Syrah that is big and bold yet beautiful with great depth. Andy and Annie’s wines are always enjoyable, and I also highly recommend a visit to the winery next time you are in Napa Valley.

Another Delicious Bottling From Jolie-Laide

Today’s Story: Jolie-Laide

Today I return to another bottling from Jolie-Laide, a boutique winery established by Scott Schultz in Forestville, CA that I have written about several times already. If you missed my prior posts, my review of the 2016 Provisor Vineyard Grenache linked here contains the most in-depth background on Jolie-Laide and Scott, and I encourage you to check it out. If you would like to read my reviews for the 2019 Trousseau Gris and 2016 Halcon Vineyard Syrah to augment your knowledge of the portfolio, they are linked here and here, respectively.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Shake Ridge Vineyard GSM

Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Viognier (no tech sheet); 13% ABV

The 2017 Shake Ridge GSM is mostly opaque medium purple/ruby in color with pale purple variation at the rim. Once this opens up, the nose showcases aromas of blackberry, blueberry, anise, violet, slight barnyard, stemmy underbrush, and granite. On the palate, the wine displays notes of plum, brambleberry, tart wild blueberry, lavender, tobacco, gravel, herbs, black pepper, and mild spice. This is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, fine-grained medium (+) tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $38. I think this is a good value GSM blend, and while it comes across slightly bigger than other Jolie-Laide wines I’ve enjoyed the same quality and focus on an honest wine is still starkly apparent. Pair this with venison steak, grilled lamb, or charcuterie.