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A plethora of Colson Canyon Syrah

My husband is tenacious and extremely focused. If he gets sparked by something, he follows the rabbit hole until he has thoroughly exhausted the subject. For example, he was on a chipotle kick last year, where *everything* he made included chipotle – even cocktails…chipotle raspberry martini anyone?  Earlier this year some fabulous friends gave us a smoker as a housewarming present…everything was smoked for months. Ribs, fish, pork shoulder, hard boiled eggs, chicken, turkey, garlic, tomatillos, tomatoes, tomatoes, onions, peppers – it all went into the smoker. This kick hasn’t stopped, though thankfully it did slow down a bit. There are only so many rib recipes you can smoke and eat in one weekend.  Whew!

One of his latest obsessions started while tasting the 2008 Brander Colson Canyon Syrah at the Brander tasting room a few months ago. Even though it is relatively young, this is a complex, full-bodied wine with flavors of black cherry, white pepper, anise and hints of cigar box. Jason and I loved the wine and asked Louise (the knowledgeable, personable and all-around wonderful tasting room manager) about the Colson Canyon Vineyard. From her we learned that Colson Canyon Vineyard is a small vineyard, relatively isolated in the hills of Santa Maria. She told us that Colson sells fruit to only a handful of wineries. That was all it took – Jason was on the hunt to taste every wine made with Colson Canyon fruit. Over the next few months, through various purchases made in person, online and over the phone, Jason collected about 2.5 cases of Colson Canyon vineyard designate wines from a bunch of different wineries. Our friends collected still more Colson Syrah. Naturally, the next step was to taste these wines and try to glean a sense of place, the terroir of Colson Canyon. This was the perfect excuse for a dinner party, so we invited some friends from the wine and food business over to help us with the plethora of Colson Syrah. With 2.5 cases of wine to choose from, we sorted and re-sorted the bottles. After much deliberation we settled upon which bottles to open (and found that we have enough wine for a second Colson Canyon dinner – tba).

Here is the lineup of wines we chose:
2001 Tensley Colson Canyon Syrah
2002 Duo (Duo is now called Costo de Oro) Colson Canyon Syrah
2003 Tensley Colson Canyon Syrah
2004 Margerum Colson Canyon Syrah
2005 Barbieri Colson Canyon Syrah Colson Canyon Syrah
2005 McPrice Myers Colson Canyon Syrah (not pictured, oops)
2006 Cleb Colson Canyon Syrah (sadly, this wine was corked)
2006 Alchemy Colson Canyon Syrah
2006 Wades Wines Colson Canyon Syrah
2007 Brander Colson Canyon Syrah

As this was more of a social, fun evening, I did not take detailed notes but our group did draw a few conclusions from this tasting. It may sound odd, but the younger Colsons seemed to have more complexity than the older vintages. I can also tell you that the group consistently gave top marks to the Brander and Margerum Syrahs. The McPrice Myers was a very close second for me (and my husband).  All in all, a wonderful evening of wine, food and friends.  I am already looking forward to the next Colson Canyon Syrah dinner!   A very special thank you to everyone who helped make this evening so much fun.   You know who you are!

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