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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Napa Red That Crosses Boundaries

Lagier Meredith Syrah Mount Veeder 2001

James Laube
Posted: March 16, 2010

Although it comes from California, Lagier Meredith Syrah reminds me of several Rhône Valley wines. There are times when it mimics Hermitage, with its pure Syrah minerality and herbal, dried berry flavors. Sometimes it’s a bit tighter, more in a Crozes-Hermitage style. Once in a while I think of Cornas when I drink it. It’s a great thing when wines can transcend place and take you on a ride in a time machine.

The 2001 Syrah, from Steve Lagier and Carole Meredith’s tiny vineyard on Mount Veeder in Napa Valley, is tight, compact and dense, marked by dried berry, mineral, cedar and subtle herbal anise touches. It has a long way to go, given its structure and vibrancy. But I’m happy I caught it the other night with a pasta dish, since it’s in a fine stage for enjoyment. I gave it a 93 points, non-blind, same as my original blind-tasting review in 2003—only I’d open up the drink recommendation to allow a little more room past 2012. This wine’s longevity provides further evidence that Syrah on Mount Veeder works quite well.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Lagier Meredith Syrah Mount Veeder 2001 (93, $50, Top 100 of 2003: No. 99).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Syrah.

Scott Bailey
North Carolina —  March 16, 2010 1:29pm ET
James, an off-topic question for you. I am going to a dinner this weekend featuring 1991-1994 Mondavi Reserve Cabernets. I have read your tasting notes for each vintage, but each was posted a few years back. I am curious as to whether you have any insight on how these wines may be showing now. Thanks...
Thomas Kobylarz
Hoboken, NJ —  March 16, 2010 8:54pm ET
Jim I think the Lagier's are on to something too! Mt. Veeder as a home to Syrah? It kind of makes sense right? Its further south in the valley right? Just North of Carneros on the Mayacamas? South facing? Cooler climate? Good cross winds down there to keep the fruit cooler? Sounds like a Rhone-like micro-climate to me, no?
Mace D Howell Iii
fremont,ca,usa —  March 18, 2010 8:01am ET

I am curious how you would compare the Lagier syrah to some of the Cayuse syrahs. For me, the Cayuse wines drink great young and even better with age. Also, do you think the flavor profile of the Lagier is similair.


James Laube
Napa, CA —  March 23, 2010 11:50pm ET
Scott and Mace, been on the road, so I'm late to the party and the Mondavi tasting (let us know how it went) and will give some thought to the Lagier-Cayuse comparison.

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