I have reviewed previous Fusee varietals but this was the first time for this particular varietal. Made by Sebastiani, the previous Fusee’s (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) were good values as this long time, reliable wine maker just doesn’t seem to put out a bad wine. So when I tasted the 2002 Fusee Syrah this weekend I was surprised;it was essentially awful. My sense though was that it was just gone, not a bad wine, just too old.
This is a typical characteristic of the vast majority of wines made today especially new world wines; namely, they are meant to drink immediately and do not age. This wine is gone! But I had the 2003 Fusee Syrah in my cellar as well and opened it. Eureka! This wine--still young enough to drink--is a wonderful value!
It has pipe tobacco aromas, with cherries and berries galore and is just plain made well. It is actually quite luscious and at $7, you cannot do better!
So, yes, knowing the producer (Sebastiani) and their commitment to good wines and their proven track record for the same, helped in my initial assessment of the older wine. Ie., Was it old or a poorly made wine? (Sometimes it's not that clear, at least not to me) I was confident it was just over the hill. Tasting the younger 2003 proved I was right!
So, skip any 2002's out there and drink up the 2003's! You won’t regret it! Raise a glass!