(1998 Vintage) Ripe and concentrated with plenty of color and spicy, red fruit aromas, this wine is distinguished by its core of berry flavors and harmonious balance. This vintage, while showy and drinkable now, will provide enjoyment for years to come.
Appellation America(2004 Vintage) I like to play a little game of sorts with myself and my friends when I taste a wine for review. The other night, over fabulously rich braised short ribs at the always consistent Cortez in downtown San Francisco, we had the 2001 Phelps Syrah (it’s not on the list, but it should be). We all agreed what a wonderful wine this is. I then asked my buds to guess the price. (I don’t like to know the cost before I taste a wine because one is easily prejudiced by such information.) The responses ranged from $25 to $50. I myself thought it was a $40 wine. When I learned that it indeed came in at $30, I was thrilled. But read more...the price is not the best thing about this wine. The best thing is the wine. It’s so delicious and so well put together, that all of us simply loved it. Among a quartet of my friends, being unanimous on anything is a rare occurrence indeed. From the glass there are aromas of spice, minerality and black cherries. On the palate the first thing one notices is the almost perfect pitch. That is, the wine is so well-balanced with those same spice and fruit characteristics. In the end, it’s one of the better California Syrahs I’ve tasted recently. It has good body and structure and will continue to age for another six or seven years. The wine spent 19 months in new French barrels (30%) with the remainder in 2- 3-year-old used wood. (hide)
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(1999 Vintage) One of California's real pioneers of serious Syrah, Phelp's hits the mark smartly with this generous and expressive offering. A big, full-bodied wine with a fine sense of solidity and a proper bit of tannic grip, it is nonetheless quite well-balanced with lots of fruit, plenty of spice and more polish than expected of such a massive working. If still a little rough and ragged at the end, it finishes with all of its fruity richness in tact, and it needs another five or six years to reach its best.
Wine Advocate(2005 Vintage) Rating: (89-91) - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 168 on Dec-06
Wine Spectator(2000 Vintage) Rating: 88/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 11/15/03.