Review of Compass Rose Cellars Syrah 2012

By Guest Blogger Jeremy Wilson

Compass Rose SyrahI first met Mark Watson when he was visiting Pedernales Cellars. I had the pleasure of hosting a private tasting for him in our reserve tasting room, along with a few other big names in the local wine industry. I knew right away he was a real gentleman. Genuine, honest and direct, that is how a man should be in my opinion.

I was fortunate to attend industry night at his newly opened Compass Rose Cellars tasting room on the Hill Country wine trail in Hye, TX a week or so later. A rustic building with a stunning view of the Hill Country awaited as I drove up the long and hilly driveway. Chef prepared food and a plethora of wonderful people from within the Texas wine industry were all there mingling. I jumped right in and felt at home once I had some fantastic Compass Rose wine in my glass and delicious food on my plate.

All three of the wines I tried that evening were very well made, but it was the Syrah that really stood out for me. It is the single most unique Syrah I have ever tasted. Every wine has its own character as we all know, but there are a few out there that really get us thinking. This is one of those wines. Here are my thoughts.

There is no capsule embracing the neck of the bottle, so a firm push and some precise twisting of my Chateau Laguiole corkscrew coaxes the cork from its cozy nook. The color is a dark garnet with a lighter red rim variation. A swirl and a deep inhale reveal white peppercorns, along with a melted smoky butter, raspberries, and a hint of oak on the nose. The palate verifies the nose near identically for me in regard to the red fruits and white pepper. The barreling is not as prominent on the palate as it is on the nose.

The major appeal of this wine that really sets it apart is the structure and mouthfeel. For a Texas Syrah this wine has a relatively low alcohol content as well as a silky, buttery mouthfeel. There is a sensation of the wine dripping down the sides of my mouth like legs down the sides of a glass. It is like layers of silk caressing the taste buds. A fellow wine aficionado and coworker of mine, Ellie Crabtree, describes this flavor profile and sensation as “bacon fat,” which I rather like! This wine has adequate body and is not flabby by any means, but it is supple and smooth which is a refreshing change of pace for a wine made with 100% Syrah.

The details:

  • 2012 Syrah
  • Winemaker: Rob Nida
  • Appellation: Texas Hill Country, Mason TX, Tallent Vineyards
  • Barreling: 15 months in European oak, second use of the barrels
  • Alcohol: 12.2% by volume
  • Clarity/Brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws
  • Tannins: Medium and round
  • Acidity: Medium
  • Alcohol: Medium
  • Finish: Medium plus

Compass Rose Syrah cork

With every review I do, I seem to find another special jewel in the world of Texas wine. This is a testament to that and I do hope you head over and pay a visit to Compass Rose Cellars for a taste of this velvety and exceptional wine. The winery itself is located in Mason, TX and their Hill Country tasting room is located off the 290 wine trail in Hye, TX.

Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.


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