Smoking Loon is another one of those brands for which I have had a great deal of experience with and with which I am favorably disposed.
For a medium-priced wine they have generally provided me excellent value for the price - a good wine at an even better price. Smoking Loon usually scores well on my quality-price continuum.
I was then a little disappointed when I popped open a bottle of their 2007 Syrah Wednesday evening. I did not get the fruitiness which I have come to expect with a California Syrah. What I got was something different: something not quite Syrah lacking the "oomph" and intensity which I crave in this varietal. Maybe Smoking Loon is test marketing Syrah-lite?
My impressions: Medium red in the glass. Cherries followed by pepper, smoke and spice box on the nose. Fruit and noticeable tannins nicely balanced across the palate. Food friendly. Light bodied for a Syrah. Brief finish with spice box again. No fatal flaws. No outstanding characteristics, either. Recommended.
Second thoughts: I know that if you read the words above you'll wonder why I still recommend the wine. Well, it is price-quality continuum thing. While not living up to expectations of a Syrah, it's price point over-rides that consideration. Were this a $19.99 bottle I would not recommend it. At $5.99 it is a great value and I am willing to overlook a technical shortcoming or two.
Smoking Loon web site here.
$5.99 on sale at Giant Supermarket.