Winery/Vineyard: Poggio Leano
Product/Varietal: 100% Syrah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Silver at 2019 Harvest Challenge (2017 vintage).
How They Describe It
DeLuz, Temecula, CA
This wine is dark ruby in color with complex fruity aromas of black currant and black cherries. Expansive and integrated with fine, silky tannins are flavors of jammy blackberries, white pepper, nutmeg and toasty oak. A long finish builds and lingers on. Just a fun fact…Did you know that Syrah and Shiraz are the exact same grape? It’s true! When Syrah arrived in Australia from France, wine makers took to calling it Shiraz. It may have been due to their accents or maybe it was just their penchant to make the word more fun to say.
How I Describe It
The Poggio Leano 2018 Syrah is deeply colored, and has such strong purple notes it takes on an almost magenta hue.
A beautiful bouquet on the Poggio Leano 2018 Syrah begins with dusty cassis (black currant), boysenberry, juicy black plum, and bramble. Blueberry and pastry are more subtle, but still noticeable. Substantial notes of anise, eucalyptus, and lavender layer underneath. Oak aromas are light, with wisps of nutmeg and dark chocolate.
There is a lot of flavor in the 2018 Syrah for being so young. From the start, blueberry and blackberry jam blend into fresh black currant and yeasty bread dough. Spice dominates the mid-palate and finish, featuring black pepper, unsweetened mocha, anise, and fennel.
This is a dry wine with high alcohol (15.1% ABV), high tannins, and medium-plus acid. It’s full bodied, with pronounced flavor intensity, and a medium-plus finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
We’ve written before about how Temecula is speckled with wine brands which can’t be found on the main wine trails. In this case, Poggio Leano was founded by Alessandro and Charity Prestifilippo in 2003, and serves as the house wine in the Temecula restaurant they own, Gourmet Italia.
Before diving into the 2018 Syrah, I want to mention that, beyond their wine, Gourmet Italia is a nationally acclaimed restaurant and a Temecula treasure. In 2018, Travel+Leisure Magazine reported that Yelp rated Gourmet Italia the #5 most romantic restaurant in the country. So, if you need to come up with date night ideas…
But let’s talk about Poggio Leano. First and foremost, it’s worth mentioning where the grapes come from. The Prestifilippo estate is located in the Temecula Valley AVA’s De Luz highlands. We’ve covered before how the higher altitude reduces average temperatures during the growing season and exposes the vineyards to a greater helping of fog. Both help to slow the grapes’ ripening process, allowing them to develop more interesting spice notes.
Despite those cooling influences, we see some outstanding fruit concentration in the Poggio Leano 2018 Syrah. The viscosity from the higher alcohol also helps amplify the dark berry characteristics, while the acid balances the wine out.
While mentioned earlier in the review, it’s worth reiterating that as of this writing, this is still a youthful wine. Flavors and aromas will continue to develop nicely over the next 3-5 years — likely longer. Moreover, the high alcohol, tannins, and acid will ensure the 2018 Syrah ages gracefully for anyone who can overcome temptation to open the bottle sooner.
When & How I Would Drink It
As with most Syrahs, the Poggio Leano 2018 Syrah would pair terrifically with barbecued and grilled red meats. But since this wine is the house brand for an acclaimed restaurant, I thought this would be a great opportunity to suggest pairings from the Gourmet Italia menu.
For starters, I think the 2018 Syrah would pair interestingly with their Carpaccio di Bue. The thinly slice red meat would be lighter fare than your traditional barbecue, but the acidic lemon garnish would intensify the wine’s fruitiness.
Among the main courses, the Filet Medallions are an obviously strong choice. However, the dish I would pair with this wine is the Ossobuco. The bone-in veal’s rich flavors and the fattiness of the marrow would accompany the 2018 Syrah’s tannic elements superbly.
Other honorable mentions include Fettucine Bolognese (pasta with meat sauce), Fusilli al Filetto (filet mignon tips and mushrooms in a red wine tomato cream sauce), and the baked Lasagna.
Last, it should go without saying, make sure to let this wine breathe! The Poggio Leano 2018 Syrah needs at least two hours to oxidize and bring out the most desirable flavors. In this case, patience is a virtue. And, fortunately, this is also a wine which will remain delicious days later.
How to Get It
Order: https://shop.poggioleano.com/prod-417407/2018-Syrah.html or visit Gourmet Italia at 27499 Ynez Road, Temecula, CA 92591.
Bottle Price: $52.00
Cases Produced: 165 cases
Have you tried the Poggio Leano 2018 Syrah? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.