The Sola Lodi Syrah 2012 is produced by Sola Winery, a small Napa winery that purchases premium grapes from various California AVA’s. Their stated mission is to be “the best value wine on the West coast.” They keep their overhead low and their costs down and these small production, boutique wines are priced lower than your typical low volume wine. The list price for the Sola Syrah is $24, but I found it for $7.99 (2/3 off) at a local supermarket chain. There was no sign indicating that this was an end of the bin sale, but when you see a single AVA wine (most under ten-dollar wines are labeled California, not a single AVA) selling for well under $10 and it is a current vintage (sometimes end of bin sales from non dedicated wine shops feature older wines that may or may not have been stored properly), it is a good idea to take a chance on a bottle. There are no production notes for the Sola Syrah, but the back label shows brewing coffee and semi-sweet chocolate as tasting notes and those are both flavors derived from oak barrels. The Lodi AVA is gaining a very good reputation for producing excellent wine and 2012 vintage was excellent with an abundance of grapes. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
The color is black cherry red, with a pink almost clear halo. The nose is dark berries, fudge brownies, molasses and strawberry. This is a silky smooth, with an edge, Syrah. It tastes of ripe blueberry, blackberry, plum, Dove chocolate and black licorice. The mid-palate brings a dash of espresso, black pepper, a little slap of curry spice and a parting hit of tart raspberry. There is good weight to the body of this wine, the tannins and the acidity are well-integrated and the finish is full and long.
Syrah was the go-to value Red wine of the 2000s, bold Australian Shiraz, Washington State voluptuous Syrah and classy Rhone Valley Syrah based blends, you had your pick of dozens of well priced bottles on the wine shop shelves. Then suddenly, Syrah fell out of fashion and now your lucky to find a hand full of Syrahs in the value price range. Merlot hit the skids because of the movie “Sideways”, but there is no smoking gun for Syrahs fall from grace. I don’t get it, with Syrah, you get a full-bodied, full flavored wine with personality, at price that is far less than comparable Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. The fall of Syrah occurred at about the same time as the rise of Malbec, I don’t think the two are connected. Why would wine lovers choose only one big, luscious Red at a time, why pick Malbec and ignore Syrah when you can enjoy them both. The Sola Lodi Syrah 2012 is a beautiful wine, it has the flavors of California and the structure of France. If you can find it and there is not many bottles left, you will have a fine wine at a great price.