2011 Big reds not ready…are they?

T is sorting hickory chunks to grill a couple of two inch, bone-in ribeyes. We’re talking two, forty-four once slabs of seriously marbled meat, calling for a seriously big wine.

Perusing the cellar, T’s eyes fall on a couple bottles of a certain Syrah. Okay, ‘cellar’ is a generous term for the small wine fridge where we stash special wines. We are not collectors and T is not one to postpone joy. But we’ve learned to snatch up vintages we like from small wineries before they sell out. Which brings us back to those special bottles.

Should we tap the 2010 Sparkman Darkness – so young – or choose juice with a little more bottle age?

As luck would have it, Sparkman Cellars was having a release party for select 2011 varietals this weekend. A sip of the new stuff should give us a clue as to what’s waiting under the corks back home.

Plus, who can resist a Sparkman release party? These folks welcome you like a favorite long-lost cousin at an extended family reunion. Today was no exception. Sitting in the shade outdoors, scarfing stuffed pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, (topped with perfect slaw) sipping a 2011 Darkness, we had our answer.

Back home, we popped open one of each. Both are 100% Syrah from Yakima Valley’s Boushey and Olsen vineyards. But, surprise, while both are deep, rich, spicy and aromatic, the 2011 opened up earlier than the 2010.

Fortunately we still have a few delicious bottles of each to sample next to the 2012.