Thursday, January 7, 2010

Owen Roe "Ex Umbris" 2006


Ah, Owen Roe. Perhaps the first winery that I got a serious jones for, at least that I can remember. "Malcovitch" over at Madison Cellars in Seattle was the first person to turn me on to the Abbott's Table Wine, and shortly thereafter, I began to seek out other Owen Roe wines. The hallmark of their wines for me is a balance between old world and new world styles. Specifically, ripe and rich, but balanced by good acidity and definite varietal character. I like this style because a lot of the time, it ends up being better and more interesting than either end of the spectrum. I've had one other vintage of this wine, which, at least originally, was created from a Syrah vineyard that was damaged in a forest fire. ("Ex Umbris" means out of the shadows in Latin, apparently. So I guess that makes sense...) Pretty neat. The 06 is a combination of Elephant Moutain Vineyard, and Lewis Vineyards fruit. This wine is textbook Syrah for me. 22$ 14.1% ABV The nose has lots of Syrah aromatics (It will be interesting to see whether they become more well-defined tonight when I drink the rest of this...last night they were shifting so much that it was hard to get anyone particular component that popped out for long.) that pop out: blackberry, blueberry, bacon, pepper, licorice, earth, smoke (that's what this vineyard is known for...although in the 06,  I think not as much as the 05, at least that I can remember), even a little bit of lavender. Rich, ripe, smooth, sweet, but not cloying or over the top. Dare I say it, this has balance in spades. (In contrast to the Koehler Syrah that I recently had at over 15% ABV, which was an absolute alcoholic, sugar-bomb mess.) There is a nice tingle of acidity supporting the rich, smokey, brown sugar, and blueberry flavors all leading into a lengthy finish. I like this wine a lot; it's totally worth checking out. The current vintage is the 07--I picked this bottle up well over a year ago. A-

5 comments:

CabFrancoPhile said...

Did you actually buy the Koehler Syrah from TJ's? When I saw that it was being dumped AND the ABV was high, I had a good guess what the problem was. Problem confirmed!

If you're near Wine House, you might want to try a bottle of the Havens Hudson Vnyd Carneros Syrah they're liquidating at $18. It used to be $40, and Hudson Vineyard wines are usually even more expensive. Having just tried it (it'll be blogged in a week or two), it falls in the New-Old middle ground stylistically and is extremely well-made. As in I'd consider it at $40 as a 'super special occasion' purchase. It basically makes 90% of Central Coast Syrahs look amateurish in comparison. Too bad the winery went bankrupt because the new corporate owners were dunces.

Jeff said...

Haha. No didn't buy the Koehler. It was by the glass at my girlfriends' company Christmas party, and it was the least offensive red the were pouring (that should tell you something right there...strangely, the pinot gris was great...).

That sounds like an interesting wine to try. Havens Hudson...I'll look for it.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I've been buying up a lot of Havens wines recently. They're pretty much right up my alley, between style and pricing. They also have a Cab Franc blend, Bourriquot, made from Carneros grapes. Cool climate Syrah & Franc . . . . a pity there will be no more!

Jeff said...

Huh...K&L has a merlot and a syrah at the moment, with I guess more to come or something. If I get out there before they sell out, I'll pick up a couple of bottles.

Jim said...

You've sold me on this one, Jeff. I'll be looking for it.