Blackjack Ranch 2007 “Double Down” Syrah

Santa Barbara County, CA, 14.9% ABV
$6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 12 July

Blackjack_2007_DoubleDownSyrahThis wine label struck me as very promising, but it was a few days before I finally tasted any.  Even immediately after opening, it seemed pretty good, starting to air quickly into ripe fruit of dark cherry and plum, earthy black pepper, with nicely balancing acid.  I didn’t taste it after that until the third and fourth days open (still in the same bottle with just the cork stuck in the top), and it was then still reasonably good.

It was a couple weeks later, however, before I got to open a bottle over an evening and consider it a bit.  This bottle struck me as less impressive than the first I opened.  While it showed similar flavors, the wine was a bit more simple and dull, less complex and lively.  It was also good from first pour, but more fully softened and opened up after 2 – 2.5 hours in a decanter.  Even though I’m criticizing the second bottle compared to the first, I think it’s still very good for the price.

A few days later, the saved single-glass, screw-cap bottle still needed a little air to come forward and integrate.  Although quite ripe and full-bodied, it showed nicely delineated flavors of dark red and dark purple / black plum, dark cherry / cranberry, tar / licorice, a little black pepper, and oak.  It may be even better than on the first night.  Still, I would guess this wine is at its peak, or even slightly past, and you shouldn’t wait long to drink it.

About this wine, Seedboy wrote: That Syrah is a nice cool climate example with plenty of life left on it.

Expat, lover of dry, earthy and tannic reds, commented:  I had the Blackjack tonight. Exactly what I thought it would be – a well made, syrupy, meaty syrah. I think Seedboy and B-dub are a little more charitable than I am. To me it was a tad sweet and I didn’t find it completely balanced because it lacked the acid and tannin backbone for my palate. I sipped it while grilling a top sirloin over oak and it was a fine cocktail wine. With the steak it lacked the structure i wanted. Bottom line, this is a wine most people will be very pleased with and at this price it’s a great deal. I’ll apologize in advance for sounding like a pompous a**, I just like more earth and funk in my reds.

Here, I disagree with Seedboy that it has plenty of life left, and with Expat that there wasn’t enough acid.  However, I agree with Expat that there was not a lot of tannic structure.  Your thoughts?  🙂

P.S.  I also saw a case or two of the 2008 bottling of this wine.   Has anyone tried it?

22 thoughts on “Blackjack Ranch 2007 “Double Down” Syrah

  1. Zoel

    2010 is now out and in stores! A noticeable (and positive) shift in style to slightly more restrained, with interesting floral aromatics. Great buy at $5 (Santa Rosa store), with 10% ase discounts…I loaded up on this and the 2012 Blackjack “21” chard today.

    1. seedboy

      Folks should look carefully at the label, because the bottle I bought Friday at Pleasant Hill was a 2008.

  2. Robert Luhrs

    I liked this and bought 2 cases. I’ve tasted a lot of Syrah in the 20-40 price range from various sources, but never bought a bottle, finding them usually strong with a harsh aftertaste. I can appreciate an austere cabernet, but Syrah just does not taste right to me without some fruit. So, for 6 bucks I couldn’t be happier to stock up on this. I feel it is a 20-40 range wine with some characteristics that might prevent it from appearing there, but for me it’s perfect…the buy of the year.

  3. Isaac

    I opened a bottle of this with lunch today. Last night, I had made a pork roast in chipotle sauce. Quite tasty, if rather spicy. At lunch, I was craving a bean burrito*, so I threw one together, using some of the chipotle sauce as well. I thought about opening a bottle of the Grandfather Clock Zinfandel, which we’re rather fond of, but decided on the Double Down instead.

    I was very pleased. Fruity and robust, it stood up well to the burrito. And the smoky flavor really went well with the chipotle sauce. Or else the chipotle sauce brought out smoky flavors in the wine, I’m not sure which, but they went beautifully together. I’m looking forward to having some more with another burrito, this time including some of the leftover pork and guacamole.

    *In this case, beans (frijoles refritos), granulated garlic, chili powder, Tillamook medium cheddar cheese, chipotle sauce, and sour cream.

  4. Expat

    Old World is the macro description of what I like with dry and earthy as components of that style. I appreciate lighter bodied wines as long as they aren’t too fruity. weinish I’ll pay close attention to your comments although I think I already have been.

    For weinish and any other fans of the restrained style, there are two producers on the Central Coast that make more Old World style wine – Caparone and Fratelli Perata. Both family owned, small wineries and super cool people. Their wines are terrific. If you tasted Caparone blind you’d be surprised to hear it was domestic. If anyone knows of any California or even domestic producers of dry, classic/old world style wine I’d love to get some names. I think I read the NY Times article but my recollection is that it focused on Napa wineries and not surprisingly they were all pretty expensive.

  5. DavidLikesWine

    I experienced the same “funk” as Carnehumana, but only on night one. I’ve been revisiting this wine over the past three days. Day 2 most of the funk blew off and the alcohol was a bit more integrated and the fruit a bit more pure. Day 3, still decent, but more syrup-y. I cannot shake the fact that the finish on this wine eerily reminds me of cherry coke…

  6. Carnehumana

    I seem to be in the Expat / Goulie camp on this one. Too much alcohol, not enough tannin and over ripe fruit. It has an interesting funk that I associate more with Pinots. Ok, but I won’t be buying more. I liked the comment about the muscle car, as when I first saw the label, that was my connotation, Vegas/Hot August Nights, etc. It was a visual pass for me until I read the comments and thought it was worth a try just to see where I fit in with the commenters.

  7. Expat

    Old World, earthy, dry, funk – all catnip to me. Chest thump to you Weinish.

    I actually just had a little more of this stoppered wine with an oak grilled Durham pork chop. It tasted even sweeter than I remember. It’s just not a style that I like, unless it is very well made (i.e. Turley).. And even then in small amounts before a meal. This feels a little clunky – like a muscle car with a ton of power but no handling or road feel.

    thegouliekid – are you on the Central Coast?

      1. Expat

        I used to belong to the Turley wine club, which you had to be on a waiting list for and then were given an “allocation”! What a marketing scam but it worked before the crash. My tastes changed and my wallet shrank so I blew them off years ago. It is well made wine but very heavy handed with high alcohol levels. Not balanced in my opinion, not great with main course food and hard on the system if you have more than a glass or two. $50 to $75 for a syrupy zin ain’t worth it to me. However, they introduced me to Charbono which I love and they did some nice tannic Petite Sirah.

    1. weinish

      Worth pointing out, there are a number of new producers going for “old world” style. This was covered well in that NYTIMES article about the “parker effect.”

  8. thegouliekid

    Hi there, I was immediately thrilled to see this wine as Robert Parker has given acclaim to Blackjack, plus they were highlighted in the movie Sideways.(coincidentally, I drove by their vineyard on Friday)

    That being said, because it is a fruit bomb, it was far too hot in the glass, and although silky and syrupy(per comments above) I felt that the alcohol was too much.

    Will try another bottle and chill!

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Greetings GoulieKid and welcome to comments! Sounds like you are in the same general vicinity as Expat.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Could be. I’m surely oversimplifying, but I think of you as an Old World fiend and of Expat as liking full-bodied, dry, earthy, tannic, but not necessarily Old World. So, plenty of overlap, I guess. 🙂


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