Today’s review is of a Sicilian varietal Syrah made by excellent Sicilian winemakers Planeta.
As usual, let’s first provide a brief overview of the Syrah grape variety.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I loved this Sicilian take of an international grape variety! Planeta, Syrah Sicilia Rosso IGT 2007 ($35) was a luscious red, with an elegant bouquet, interestingly devoid of those animal fur notes that Syrah from other geographic regions may exhibit. Despite its muscular ABV, the wine was wonderfully balanced and offered supple tannins counterbalancing its silky smoothness. Its rich, pleasant mouth flavors completed the picture.
Rating: Very Good and definitely Recommended – $$
(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)
About the Grape
Syrah is a black-berried grape variety that is indigenous to the northern Rhone region of France, where it was first mentioned in a document dating back to 1781 under the name “Sira de l’Hermitage“.
DNA analysis proved that Syrah is a natural cross between Mondeuse Blanche (a Savoie variety) and Dureza (an Ardeche variety) that probably took place in the Rhone-Alps region.
Syrah has historically been mostly grown in the Rhone Valley in France and in Australia under the name Shiraz, although recently its planting has become more widespread (as in the case of the Sicilian Syrah that we are going to review) as a result of an increasing popularity of its wines.
(Information on the grape variety taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012 – for more information about grape varieties, check out our Grape Variety Archive)
About the Estate
Planeta’s Syrah is made out of grapes coming from the 42 HA Maroccoli vineyard situated at 450 mt/1,475 ft above sea level within Planeta’s Ulmo estate, located near the town of Sambuca di Sicilia (Agrigento), on the western coast of Sicily. The Maroccoli vineyard density is 5,000 vines/HA.
Ulmo is the first and the oldest among Planeta’s current estates: it became operational in 1995, along with its winery, and it encompasses some 93 HA of vineyards (including Maroccoli) where Chardonnay, Merlot, Grecanico, Nero d’Avola and of course Syrah are grown in different crus.
Our Detailed Review
The Planeta, Syrah Sicilia Rosso IGT 2007 that I had was a red wine made from 100% Syrah grapes grown in the Maroccoli vineyard and had 14.5% ABV. It is available in the US where it retails for about $35.
The wine fermented in steel vats for 12 days at 25C/77F and aged 12 months in French oak barrique casks, 1/3 of which were new and the remaining 2/3 previously used ones. As you may know, the reason for using barrels that had already been used before is to limit the interference of the oak with the organoleptic profile of the wine, so that the tertiary aromas developed during the barrique aging period do not overwhelm but rather coherently complement the fruity secondary aromas developed by the wine in the fermentation phase.
As usual, for my review I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.
In the glass, the wine poured ruby red with purple hints and viscous when swirled.
On the nose, its bouquet was intense, moderately complex and fine, with aromas of black cherry, plum, tobacco, soil and leather.
In the mouth, the wine was dry, with high ABV and smooth; it was moderately acidic, tannic and tasty. It was full-bodied and perfectly balanced. Its mouth flavors were intense and fine, with notes of black cherry, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco and black pepper. Its tannins were supple and masterfully integrated. The wine had a long finish and its evolutionary state was in my view approaching its maturity, meaning the peak in terms of its potential (in other words, for best results enjoy it now or in the next year or so).
I love the Planeta wines, dear Stefano. I never had a Planeta wine that wasn’t a pure delight to drink, but sometimes they are hard to find. Your excellent review makes me dream of a very tasty and delightful mouthful of this Syrah (the Cabernet Sauvignon in my glass next to me is everything but dry, smooth and warm!)
I wonder if a white wine b the name of Lacrima I had some years ago and never found again came from Planeta.
Enjoy your weekend! Lots of love and a big hug to the three of you from
Klausbernd, Siri & Selma und Dina ♥
Apologies if it took me forever to respond to your kind comment: I’ve been swamped with work and traveling, and neither thing helped me stay on top of the blogging thing…
I think the white wine you had might have been a Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio of the white variety. That is an appellation from Campania and there are a few wines from certain producers within the appellation that are pretty good. One of the main varieties used in LCV Bianco is an indigenous white-berried variety called Coda di Volpe (literally, fox tail!) But what you had was certainly not from Planeta because they are a Sicilian winery and cannot make LCV.
I hope you will have an opportunity to taste Planeta’s Syrah on the other hand as I think you would enjoy it!
A big hug to you all and have a wonderful weekend!
We love this Syrah. Our wine guy sent it to us, promising we’d agree with him, that it was a surprisingly good wine and excellent value. He was right!
Thank you, Tracy: I totally agree with you, it is a really solid, pleasant red with a very good QPR.
It’s been on my list for a while…now I want it even more!
If you end up trying it out, please let me know what you think of it, Oliver.
I have a sense you would enjoy it.
I’ll be keeping my eyes open!
I really need to find a way to get more Sicilian wines–not easy in PA!
Yes, certain Sicilian wineries (and Planeta is one of them) have really invested wisely and worked hard to come up with quality wines overturning Sicilian tradition of huge wine production of low quality wines. It is a welcome phenomenon in my view.
Sorry about the limited choice of wines you guys in PA are offered. Quite unbelievable in the Third Millennium…
Sounds lovely Stefano! One thing I must admit I have never heard of is doing DNA analysis on wine!
Thank you, Heather: I tell you, I am fascinated by DNA profiling of the various grape varieties! 🙂 It gives you an objective insight on the ancestry of the various varieties which I find interesting.
Sounds like an interesting wine – I will keep my eye open for it.
Yes, I think you should consider it – perhaps you could ask one of your distributors to make you taste it in the context of your selections for your wine bar. I think it is a solid choice for a reasonably priced red.
I must try this again as I didn’t think much of it at a Planeta tasting I went to.
Yes, I think you should try it again, maybe the one you tasted from was not too stellar a bottle, I don’t know. Granted, taste is personal and each one of us has his or her own preference for certain styles or kinds of wine, but I think Planeta’s Syrah is a solid, enjoyable wine, so I tend to believe there may have been other factors that led you not to think much of it.
‘Luscious red, with an elegant bouquet … ‘ that sounds good Stefano. 😉
Thank you, B: yes, I really enjoyed that bottle! 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend!
Stefano! Excited! As you know, Shiraz/Syrah is pretty much my favourite red, though I’ve never tried a Sicilian variety. This one sounds delicious, I’m a huge fan of smooth, fruit driven wines with a peppery kick. I’ll try to track down a bottle of this one. By the way, I found a bottle of Australian-grown Tempranillo on Saturday, from the Stella Bella vineyard in Margaret River. I didn’t even know it was produced over here! Very delicious, not as full bodied as Spanish varieties but interesting all the same 🙂
I know full well you love Syrah! And if you ask me, there’s plenty good reason for loving that variety! 🙂
I would love to hear what you think of Planeta’s take of Syrah: as you know, I can’t wait to speculate myself about Australian Shiraz when I receive the shipment with the Aussie wines that you were so kind as to recommend to me! 🙂
Just like you said in the case of the Australian grown Tempranillo, I think it is extremely interesting seeing how certain varieties adapt to different terroirs and the aromas/flavors/structure that each of them contributes to impart to the wines.
I am thinking of ways for the two of us to come up with some sort of coordinated wine tasting, if you will, where both you and I taste either the same wine or different wines made from the same variety and then we publish our notes on both blogs. I still need to refine the concept, but if you were interested, I would love to do something along those lines with you. I think it would be fun and even educational! Let me know what you think, if you read this, and if you are interested we can discuss it more offline.
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