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Boxcar Label

California red wines at great prices

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2002 Boxcar Syrah

  • Feb 11, 2009
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So far as I can tell, this was the first (or maybe second) vintage of the Boxcar Syrah, and I'm guessing I paid maybe $15 for it back in 03 or 04.  And then I stuck in in a box and forgot about it.  Until a few weeks ago, when I pulled it from the wine locker, thinking it was time to see what all those years had added up to (and also because I think I have one more bottle left).  I'll be honest - I wasn't expecting much.  Cheap, easy drinker from more than 5 years ago, definitely not wines sold on their aging ability.  I figured there'd be enough fruit to sustain the wine, but often the cheaper central coast quaffers get a little out of whack as they age, owing to low acid or other structural issues that, while not necessarily defects, don't generally lend themselves to aging.

Well, not here, as it turns out.  The wine is still dark purple at its core, fading to maroon just at the rim.  The nose is lovely - all briary and sweet, probably landing somewhere close to blackberries, but definitely edging towards red fruits, too, and with a bit of that floral lift that I often find in central coast wines.  But it's faint here - a sign of the years.  And there's something that's almost minty that's left - if you told me this was a Barossa Shiraz, I wouldn't doubt you.  Now, a few hours after opening, I'm picking up a bit of minerality, very Rhone, on the nose, not so much in the mouth.

The thing is, for all that, I wouldn't call this a complex wine.  But it sure is a fun one, evolving in my glass as i swirl, and working just fine with my Frankie & Johnnie's pasta pizza (mental note: that's a review for another day).  The wine is probably a bit thick and overpowering to pair really well with any food, but that's a minor quibble - fact is, it probably goes just great with pretty much all foods, and geez, for fifteen bucks and a few years to many of bottle age, this is pretty bang on, as the Aussies might say.

Probably time to try out the 05 or 06 Boxcar, if I can find me any.  And there's the matter of that one remaining bottle of the 02.  I'm thinking I'll revisit in 2012, just for the hell of it.

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August 06, 2009
And to think that the Syrah grape was developed near Shiraz in what is now Iran! How times and cultural attitudes change! I love Syrahs/Shhiraz too. Wish we could get the Boxcar stuff here.
May 29, 2009
I love Syrah.. my favorite right now is the 2005 Scott Cellar Syrah.
April 11, 2009
Wow, great review! I don't know anything about wine, so this was really fun to read. I always wondered how people can smell wine and say, "blackberries, plum, mint, and fresh hay," or whatever it is. Hahaha! Maybe I need a wine class or something (or to stop only buying bottles that are under $10?) On that note, I'd love to hear from you about some fun or interesting wines to try in the cheaper price range!
April 11, 2009
We had the 2007 Boxcar Syrah not too long ago - it's an under $20 bottle of wine, and it rocks. Next time we open one, I'll post a full review, but definitely worth looking for. Lincoln Fine Wines here in Venice has it...
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Member Since: Jan 7, 2009
Last Login: Mar 12, 2010 08:09 PM UTC
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About this wine


Box Car Wine Company is Red Car Winery's "value" wine label, with syrahs and pinots typically available in the $20 to $25 range.  Here's what they have to say about themselves at www.boxcarwines.com:

<<Boxcar wines are a splurge in taste, not in cost. They are for consuming more than collecting. The focus is on cool-climate sites along California's coastal regions to produce expressive, balanced wines exploding with nuance and character. These wines offer a fine dining experience at home but are also found by-the-glass in many top restaurants across the country. They are presented seasonally to best complement nature's current bounty. Spring delivers a white; summer brings Rosé; fall presents Pinot Noir; and winter features Syrah. Enjoy them with friends, family and food!>>
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Wine, Pinot, Syrah, Red Car


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