Saturday, September 15, 2012

2010 J. Storey "Carriage Vineyard" Syrah

After a long morning and afternoon of talking to the Kansas Department of Revenue and faxing in another Mt. Everest of paperwork, I was ready to ring in the weekend with something smoky, sultry and sexy. So I put a couple of racks of babyback ribs on the smoker and three and a half hours later opened my sample bottle of 2010 J. Storey Carriage Vineyard Syrah, Paso Robles. Not as dark as I've come to expect from a Paso Robles Syrah bearing 15.2% alcohol, the wine is nonetheless blessed with stunning aromatics of blackberry, pomegranate syrup, black pepper and fragrant Mediterranean herbs. Nicely balanced in the mouth, this is no ponderous, over-extracted milkshake of a wine. Refined, moderate tannins, nice acidity and a long, silky finish complete the package. This is a wine to seek out if you're laboring under the impression that Syrah from Paso Robles is lacking in subtlety and finesse. I'm not sure where the Carriage Vineyard is located in Paso Robles, but I'm guessing it is in one of the cooler microclimates. About $25.

While beautiful on its own, I think the wine was a bit overpowered by the sticky, smoky ribs. Perhaps this was an occasion to open a Syrah from the likes of Terry Hoage or Dunning.

Oh yeah - This was provided free of charge (I did pay for expedited shipping) from the winery as I am considering distributing this wine in the Great State of Kansas.


  1. I haven't seen this in NH, but I'm a sucker for a good Syrah. It seems to me that two years ago the number one wine on WS' Top One Hundred was a Syrah from Paso Robles, I believe it was 2007 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard, but it may have been another great wine from Paso Robles.

    1. I've only had one Saxum Syrah (I think it was a '98 or '99) but I remember it being pretty stellar. That one was a gift from Brad Harrington, owner of, when he came to visit us in Atlanta. Pretty sure their wines are a bit out of my comfort zone these days.

      But overall, I really dig Paso Robles Syrahs and Rhone-style blends. If you put me in one of those odd scenarios where I could only drink from one California wine region, I could be perfectly happy drinking Paso Robles for the rest of my life.

      Do you like my picture? I was channeling my inner Dennis, using my grill as a prop :)

    2. Bill, your picture reminded me of John's, as you guys are more prone to getting your surroundings included in the photos.
      It is good that you put some thought into taking them and the ambiance reflects why wine is so much a part of our everyday life style. I've been disappointed when I try this inclusive style, but hope to get a new camera by spring that will hopefully allow better imaging of the context of wine.
      One things for sure, all aspects of wine add to the appreciation of the context of our lives and wine can play a roll in that. I think this is more true in Italy and France, but there are enclaves in America too, and I would imagine that it is good marketing to get a Normand Rockwell kind of Americana picture of wine "belonging" to those everyday lives, barbecues, dinners/picnics, restaurants,even sports events should have these images; not only would it be good marketing, but good for a culture that often sees drinking beer as "guzzle-me-down" to get a feeling good time going. I know this discussion is not new, but the implications are in the sales. I for one would never drink more than one beer, but open a good bottle of wine almost anywhere and I'll be with you.

    3. Get these wines. They're doing well here, or at least in St. Louis.

      You have an "inner Dennis"? Good on you, it's a very nice picture. Not sure I want to know what an "inner Claire" might be like for you.

    4. Thanks for the info, Claire. Does your company distribute them? Or do you just know them by reputation?

    5. No, we don't, but a friend works for the company that does. I know they're in the most respected stores, & that says a lot, in my opinion.

    6. Hi, The fruit came from my vineyard east of Templeton and south of Paso in the El Pomar area. We are the highest vineyard on the East side at about 1500 feet. A warm area with great breezes in the Templeton gap. Pictures (some overhead) are in our website

    7. Larry,

      hanks so much for your reply and the information. I'm not sure if you know or not, but I now have a small wine distributor in Kansas, Amphora Distribution. And we represent John Storey's wines here. We have done particularly well with the Carriage Vineyard Syrah, placing it in a few retailers as well as Story, one of the best restaurants in the area. In the future I will certainly pass along the elevation and vineyard information when I present this wine to retailers and restauranteurs.

      In the interest of full disclosure, I no longer review wines distributed by Amphora on this, my personal wine blog. Any future reviews of these wines would be found at the business blog:

      Thanks again for the info. If I ever make it our to Paso again, I will be sure to stop by, say "hi" and take a peek at your vineyards. Keep up the great work!