Sometimes a company is more recognized than their products and sometimes the company products are more recognized than the company that makes them, in the wine world Michael David Winery fits the latter. Earthquake, Incognito, 7 Deadly Zins are easily recognized and widely available in wine stores throughout Southwest Florida, but ask people their opinion of Michael David wines and you are likely to receive a blank stare in reply. Along with those popular labels joins the 6th Sense Syrah, which according to company literature is the “#1 selling domestic Syrah over $12 in the U.S.” For an overview of the people and place Erik Wait has put together a good piece here http://www.californiawinetastingadventures.net/2013/07/michael-david-winery-lodi-california.html and for a look at the 2011 6th Sense Syrah read on.
This wine is not 100% Syrah; there is a touch of Petite Sirah blended in, but not enough to reduce the traits expected in a good Syrah wine. In the glass this is an impenetrable inky purple color with a full nose of blackberry, candy sweetness and peppery spice. The wall of aroma rising up from the glass is echoed in the flavor of plum, Black Forest cake and cocoa bean set against the foundation of black pepper, tannin and acidity typical of the Syrah grape. While the Petite Sirah adds a bit of mid palate this is a front of the palate sliding down to the finish type of wine and though has good persistence in the mouth, the bulk of flavor is in the opening. It should be said the ending may be a bit aggressive for some, but if you like Syrah and its spicy nature this is a treat.
I thoroughly enjoyed this wine on its own merits, but it would also provide a fine complement to a meal. While the classic match would be grilled beef, lamb or some game meats would be worth consideration or for a simpler meal try some pulled pork with apple flavor from the sauce or smoke. As a side dish think about squash and brown sugar or a minty cous cous salad. Just a few suggestions though I encourage you to experiment, as long as the food is solid enough to stand up to the weight of this wine, blend with the peppery spice and absorb some of the tannic finish. In other words nothing dainty or delicate to accompany this wine.
As if you needed more there is an interesting piece of writing on the back label as well as an eye to watch your appreciation of the winemaker’s craft. That said, while I recommend this wine the price of $15.99 at Total Wine and More may not fit what many would consider a “budget wine”. However the 2011 6th Sense Syrah from Michael David Winery is definitely a solid value for the money and should at least be considered as a special occasion purchase for even the thriftiest wine drinker. Think of the coming Memorial Day cookout as a good event to pick up a bottle to share with friends and family.