“Taco Night,” Review: Euclid Syrah

Practice was called for lightning last night… but only after we had run for half an hour in heavy rain. I came home drenched from head to toe, ready to make dinner.

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A few years ago, I asked Mike Farmer to donate some the wine he makes with his son, Lucas, to a charity auction I was helping to put on, and they graciously acquiesced. It was sometime during the auction that I remembered how much I love their wine and and I ended up placing the winning bid. So tonight, when Sonja told me she’d like tacos — a dish I learned to make from Mike on a visit to his home years ago, I knew just what to enjoy sipping while I was cooking, and what to pair it with.

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Syrah is, perhaps outside of Washington State, an under appreciated varietal in my opinion. Used mostly for blending in the old world, I’m stymied by how great it can be when made by a talented winemaker. The Euclid Syrah, this bottle 2011, is pretty wicked juice, and example of just what I’m talking about. A rich, ruby hue, a refined yet aromatic nose of red fruits and earthy notes fills the bowl and wafts up out of the glass even without the customary swirling. On the palate, a mellowed vibrancy of concentrated red fruits, definitive structure, long chain tannins, and oak-imparted notes. Bing cherry, plum, raspberry, delicate leather, and subtle spices — oh, and a rich, exotic flavor, perhaps some sort of root, that I could never quite put my finger on. A lingering finish plays upon the palate. At seven years old, this wine presents as young and expressive, and it shows no signs of slowing down. These guys, a father and son duo, give the best Syrah makers of our time a serious run for their money.

I whipped up some pico de gallo and Sonja crock-potted chicken. I wanted to add something a little fiery to the mix, so I grabbed a bottle of Jalapeño wine from LaBelle Winery in New Hampshire which Sonja and I visited a few years back. (Read our AWG review here: https://itheewine.com/2015/01/03/labelle-winery-review/.) We loved the place, and this cooking wine, poured over onions with a bit of sea salt and some red pepper, made for onions that offered a gentle burn only after arriving in the gullet. “Is this the best thing I make?” I asked Sonja. “Oh yeah,” came her reply sans any hesitation. Thanks in large part to Mike Farmer, I make pretty darn good tacos.

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It has been raining for weeks it seems like, almost without stop. Even when it does stop, the clouds seem to linger, and I fear we’re in for a harsh winter. But we have a store of wonderful Euclid wine in the basement to help get us through, and no doubt several more taco nights on the horizon. I know we’ll make it. Let me know when you’re in Omaha. I’d love to make tacos for you.

Cheers to staying dry today,

Mark

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