Bodegas Borsao “Zarihs” Syrah 2016

 
Chris Ringland is a world-renowned wine maker and consultant who specializes in Shiraz and Syrah. And he is but one of the two Shiraz/Syrah gurus behind this project. From “The Wine Buyer at Bottle King”: “93 Points, Top 100, Gold Medal, and voted one of the best Syrah's worldwide, the Zarihs label from Aussie winemaker Chris Ringland and Spanish winemaker Jose Chueca is turning heads for under $20! Showcasing the best of Campo de Borja, the combination of the modern Shiraz-like elements from Ringland is the perfect marriage to the more traditional styling of Chueca. The Syrah was planted 16 years ago in the foothills of the Moncayo to take advantage of the soil, sun and the uniqueness of the Cierzo, which freshens the grapes from bloom to peak maturity. The vines are 600-700 meters above sea level, in limestone soil, giving the Syrah an almost northern Rhone like acidity to accompany the huge aromatics of dark fruits, wild blackberries and plums. 40% of the wine is aged in new American oak barrels for 12 months, which showcases the abundant vanilla and spice notes. A brilliant effort and one of the best values on Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2020!”

And what did Wine Spectator have to say? This: "This red marries the ripe fruit and toasty oak of the international style with a savory, rustic character. A thick, polished texture, supported by well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity, carries dark plum, black pepper, soy sauce and loamy earth flavors that are seamless and long. Drink now through 2032.” How many points? 93.

Josh Raynolds of Vinous Media was comparatively stingy, awarding the wine 90 points, but commenting, “Inky ruby. Ripe, spice-tinged black and blue fruit and vanilla aromas are complemented by a smoky quality that builds in the glass. Lush, concentrated blackberry, cherry-vanilla and candied licorice flavors show hints of smoked meat and cracked pepper on the back half. Dusty tannins build steadily on a long, broad finish that leaves a cherry compote note behind.”

Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast also gave the wine 90 points, noting, “Grapy black-fruit aromas are gamy and suggestive of wet animal hide. A big, jammy palate is braced by oak and tannins, while this meaty Syrah tastes woody and baked, with fully ripe blackberry flavors. Lemony oak residuals are found on a charred finish.”

The lowest price I’ve seen lately is just under $18/bottle. Be aware of coupons, however: After using them, I paid about $16 for each of my bottles, including shipping (free) and tax (not charged).

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