I first came across Amador Cellars during a report for the SF Chronicle. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting a few of their wines in the comfort of my own home as well—and the quality of wine I received in the tasting room has held up with every sip, from their 2012 Reserved GSM to their 2014 Reserved Grenache and now this single-varietal expression of Syrah.

About the Wine: The Amador Cellars 2015 Syrah is made from 100% Syrah grapes harvested from the Karmere Vineyards (the Drew and Rachel blocks) located in the Shenandoah Valley AVA in Amador County, California.

15% ABV

Flavor Profile: Note: I decanted this wine for about one hour. My tasting notes are based around that.

Pop the cork of the Amador Cellars 2015 Syrah and inhale decadent aromas of deep cherry, blackberry jam, chocolate, an essence of forest bark, and an almost barbecue smoke. This Syrah is a perfect velvet purple on the pour, settling into the glass with a deep-set maroon color at it’s very core with a beautiful red-violet perimeter starting about about three-quarters of the way out.

Initial aromas are of red cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, boysenberry jam, and a mushroom-like funk. Swirl and find a meaty-earthiness—as if you’re foraging for those mushrooms. Still, those fruits are everywhere in this dream-like forest, as is an essence of potpourri as you lift your nose just above the mouth of the glass.

The palate of the Amador Cellars 2015 Syrah is full-bodied, but incorporating a good, strong acidity from start to finish. The tannins are so plush without ever being tacky or sticky at any point. Dominant flavors are of black cherry, boysenberry, raspberry, damp oak wood, a hint of chocolate, with a backbone of forest floor.

Food Pairing: I paired the Amador Cellars 2015 Syrah with a slow-roasted lamb shank served with roasted eggplant and purple cauliflower steak. This was, indeed, the perfect pairing. I was pleasantly surprised at how light-bodied this Syrah was compared to those I’ve experienced from other regions. The tannins completely dissolve in the mouth. The wine, on the whole, is just so completely mellow. And it’s that attitude I really needed with this meal—this overtly and obviously robust meal. To have a wine that can stand up to the lamb shank’s heartiness while simultaneously contrasting that same characteristic—that’s a hard quality to come by.

Oh, and the wine was delicious. And so was the food. So they paired well in that way too. 😊

More Info: I received the Amador Cellars 2015 Syrah as a gift. (Cheers, Jim!) Price: $32. For more information about Amador Cellars, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Amador Cellars website.

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