Canihan Family Cellars Sonoma Syrah (2)

Canihan Family Cellars Sonoma Syrah 2-Pack
$59.99 $̶1̶0̶6̶.̶0̶0̶ 43% off List Price
2009 Exuberance Syrah, Sonoma Valley
CT link above

Winery website

Sounds excellent and I love Syrah probably more than any other varietal. The Price makes me hesitate though. Any notes from anyone on these?

2009 Canihan Family Wines Exuberance Syrah - a Report with wings

Tonight’s bottle is a striking modern bottle with gold print directly on the seemingly black bottle.

Opened at a few minutes past 7. Cork in good shape, a bit of fine sediment on it and in the neck. (No issue there)

Color: a very dark purplish red. Very well concentrated pigment. Further inspection shows it to be free of any discernible cloudiness. All is as expected.

I proceed to start making wings from a recipe Bowtie suggested in the forums last week. Wings are steaming for 10 minutes.

Nose at 25 minutes open: The first note I got was a bit musky but then I swirled and it went away for the most part. I think this is still opening. Another whiff brings a very bright pungent note, somewhat minty, somewhat acetic. This is a really odd start. Beneath these flavors I smell some dark berries but I cannot ferret them out at the moment. Hopefully this keeps opening up.

The wings are done steaming, now pat dry and place on a drying rack in the fridge for 45 minutes.

Palate at 30 min open: Ooooo there’s the good stuff. Bright and medium red berries fill my mouth. I pucker a little from the acidity and then after that wears off my cheeks suck in from a large amount of very dry tannins. I love FEELING my wine and this hits that button nicely. Back to flavors: on the fore there are red berries upon red berries. As I get used to the wine it’s not as bright, call it bing cherry and not quite ripe red plum. The middle carries through the cherry, adds the acidity from a ripe pineapple and then starts in on the wonderful dry tannins (yes, the tannins start showing up in the middle). There are also notes in the middle of asparagus (mid green), mint (bright), and a light soy or chocolate. On the finish, the tannins continue to massage my tongue for over 30 seconds while a slightly musky/smoky caramel flavor fades away.

Nose at 1 hour: What was musty before is now smoky, like smelling your clothes after a campfire An interesting note that I am torn on whether to like or not. The pungent note has mellowed and now is a fresh minty note that may be alcohol showing through (though I’d be shocked at only 14%) under these two notes the wine is not terribly talkative. The mint blends into a red note and makes me think of very tart oranges while the smoke blends into the deeper tones and leaves me with some coffee. I wonder if the nose will develop more with time. Luckily I’m a palate kind of guy.

Wings are out of the fridge and into a 425° oven for 20 min on one side and then 20 on the other or until golden brown and crispified.

At this point I am a bit hungry so I indulge myself with a bit of Emmentaler “Sweet and buttery with a mellow nutty flavor”

The cheese does as most cheeses will with wine, it rounds the edges making it more pleasing to most. In this case, the wine takes on a round fruity character that starts at cherry and descends to a grapey plum. The kick at the beginning and the grippy tannins at the end hardly show up. This is now a very smooth wine. I like the contrast and proceed to enjoy: cheese then wine… Then water… Then wine then cheese. Very different.

Nose at a bit before 2 hours: The nose is pretty mild now. A brief bit of cherries, some dustiness.

Palate: This is now also calmed down from its earlier rambunctiousness. Round cherry has blended in with the asparagus/artichoke flavor, the tannins have receded to the finish and are much tamer. A dark note broods up from the middle bubbling with chocolate which makes the still lingering acidity taste like raspberries along side.

The wings are crispy and out of the oven. Tossed with a spicy BBQ sauce, garlic, and butter, they are a great compliment. This wine deals surprisingly well with the tang of the sauce. Most wines would bow completely out where as this one still has enough spunk to be enjoyable alongside.

Coming up on 10 now and time for this to be up. Final impressions: Nose of mint, dust, and dark berries. Palate of mid to dark red fruits, good acidity, a bit of interesting green and soy. Finish of a mid amount of drying tannins that linger. This is a very good quality, deeply concentrated, balanced, Syrah that for once seems built to last.


Oh yeah… The wings are good too. The bigger ones are better and eat them while they are hot!

I happened to pick up a bottle of this wine today and popped it as soon as I got home 9:30pm…long day uggh.

I am getting a lot of blueberry and a hint of meat on the nose which I like.

Poured a glass and let it rest for 15 minutes I taste plums blueberry on the attack with some tart blackberry and something green in the mid palate. Good acid with powerful tannin that has a little bitterness on the finish, I do like strong tannin so this is no problem for me.

After a half an hour the wine has become much smoother and added a hint of coco powder. I need to throw something together for dinner and will report back later because the wine and I need some food.


Threw together a burger and some salad, the wine did much better with some red meat. A bit of funk and alcohol on the nose now and gets much bigger as it opens up.

IMO this wine needs time to come together, it’s a little bigger than the Syrahs I have been drinking lately NTTAWWT and a fair deal depending on the type of Syrah you like.

I’m glad to hear our Exuberance Syrah evolved and stood-up to your wings. I think I’ll pair it with wings for dinner.

Bill Canihan

This may sound stupid, but I’m a little put off by the bottles. First of all, it makes me wonder how much extra I’m paying for the fancy bottle with the cool gold lettering. Secondly, I’m wondering how the oddly shaped bottle will fit in my racks.

Nice bottle sometimes slips off as you stack on other Rhone-like bottles. Like foods, nice presentation often confers/enhances taste, yes?
But is it worth wooting when it is priced about the same at the store? Like

Careful, your bias is showing. Not all of us live within driving distance of said store, and if you factor shipping it’s probably a better deal than you think.

Also, I’m glad the wings came out. AB got it right.

I do believe the DFW folks tasted this. I hope to see some reviews from y’all soon. :tongue:

I can’t solve your gold lettering issue (I personally find it classy) but as for shape. It isn’t so large or oddly shaped. It fits in my rack as well or better than all my other rhone styled bottles.

As a matter of fact I was just pulling out my notes. Caveat, this was one of about a dozen
wines tasted that night so you won’t get the same detail as the ones posted above.

The Exuberance was a deep purple color with long legs when swirled. On the nose, I got plum, some black pepper, and something I couldn’t place - it may have been the cedar in the product description.
On the palate the tannins were in your face. This wine definitely needs bottle age or significant decanting. After the tannin attack I did pick up plum on the palate.
The finish at this point was all tannin.
The wine did get passed around again after an hour or so, and I remember liking it better, but by then, between the other wines and spicy barbecue, I don’t have any notes or specific recollection.

We had this wine on Saturday night at the DFW Woot dinner. The color was a dark purple, violet at the edges and opaque as expected. The nose was very strange and very hard to define, and not appealing. Did not pick up any berry or other fruit notes, nor tobacco, cedar or tar like in other Syrahs I have had. It was moderately tart with medium plus tannins, and a short finish. The nose carried over into the taste and again it was a strange flavor. Maybe this wine needs more time to open up but there wasn’t an opportunity to go back and taste it again later. The packaging is certainly elegant but the wine didn’t pass muster at our end of the table. This is a pass for me.


Good Morning Wine Wooters,
Bill Canihan here, owner, founder & winemaker of today’s Exuberance Syrah offer.
I look forward to answering your questions and sharing more about our winery.

Due to our dry-farming and Certified Organic vineyard, our yields are less than 2 tons per acre, as compared with conventionally farmed Syrah that can yield 5-6 tons per acre. At a blind tasting of the San Francisco Vintners Club, the group chose Exuberance over well-recognized producers from Napa & France that had price tags of $150-$500. We were thrilled.

I’m sorry that this wasn’t one of your favorite Syrahs lately. The 2009 vintage was cool for our vineyard, which resulted in tannins a bit larger than typical vintages. I’d suggest letting the 2009 breathe for a few hours. It needs time to fully-open. I invite you to visit us when you are in Sonoma, and taste our Pinot Noir & Cab Franc.

What $500 Syrah did this beat? What $500 Syrah exists? $150 is alone exceptionally steep for Syrah, although I am familiar with some Cornas that retails in the $100 range and SQN is in the $150 range so there are Syrahs in the $150 range, albeit very few. The $500 mark sounds unbelievable, to be honest (although that doesn’t mean it isn’t true).

I definetly experienced similar things as you did on this one at the beginning. I know that syrahs can be made in a very dense and possibly reductive manner sometimes so I made sure to let mine have time to breathe. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wine is better tonight than it was last night. This Syrah seems built to last.

Thanks for joining the boards today! Welcome.

I was browsing your website and couldn’t find any information about stopping in for a tasting visit. Is this something we would need to contact you directly about?

EDIT: Dug a bit deeper and saw on the winery map that you are appt only. What are typically good times?

Shilly chime in: I didn’t take notes, but thoroughly enjoyed ‘tasting’ this one over two days. It showed no signs of stopping on day two. Quality. Black Tie status.

I think Mr. CMaldoon is correct: "This is a very good quality, deeply concentrated, balanced, Syrah that for once seems built to last. "