Friday evening I got to participate in a special edition of #winechat and was very happy that I could also share this wine and experience with my wine night ladies.  They came to visit me at my beach house for a “girls weekend” and timing was perfect as they arrived at the same time I uncorked the bottle of 2007 Imagine Wine Paradise Mountain Winged Syrah. (I apologize for hitting the wrong mute button for those on the skype call with me. Muted my computer instead of skype. Yes they were loud, hungry and thirsty upon arrival)

First a little background on Imagine Wine. A boutique winery that began in 2004 by Ross and LynDee Rankin in the Santa Barbara wine region, Ross is the winemaker and does a fine job at that.  They source their grapes from vineyards in the central coast of California.  The Paradise Mountain Syrah that was in the bottle Friday is from the eastern hills of Santa Barbara County. They have a selection of wines all with limited production and they are available in Tasting Room and Art Gallery that opened in Santa Ynez in 2009. This 2007 Syrah is their inaugural wine.

When I first looked at the label and saw that the alcohol was 15.5% I knew the wine was going to be hot.  Yes it was.  Some of you might be thinking, what’s hot?  Does that mean heat hot?  No..when the wine has a high alcohol content and you hear the term “hot” you will get a burning feeling in your mouth as well your nose when you go to smell it. It does not mean there is anything wrong with the wine, just it has a high alcohol content.

When poured in the glass my daughter had given me for my birthday the wine was a beautiful eggplant color

and had a ting of orange hue along the rim.  Aromas of blackberry pie and cassis filled the glass.  It was quite delightful.  The palate was filled with black cherry and blackberry jam towards the finish with a hint of oak mingling throughout. This is a big bold wine!

As the evening progressed and the wine opened it, it really began to show its true colors.  As big and bold as it was at first, it began to soften, some ripe plum began to show on the palate along with a nice black pepper finish. The wine had a very good concentration of fruit and complexity and the high alcohol dissipated.

This Syrah was fermented 25-30 days and spent 6 years in oak. 30-40% of the oak was new, so I was expecting a little more oak but was pleasantly surprised at how balanced the integration was. The barrels used were 70% French Oak and 30% Hungarian Oak. Having wine spend 6 years in oak, is a long time and it doesn’t come without a cost.  The price tag was $12,000.  All fine things take time and money. In case you are wondering, the wine does have a price tag of $80. I would purchase it for a special occasion.

My wine night ladies described the wine as “rich, smooth and fruity.”

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a media sample.