Wine of the Week: The Gnome Knows Syrah

Wine: The Gnome Knows Syrah

Grape: Syrah

Region: Vin de Pays D’Oc, Southern France

Vintage: 2011

Price: $7.99

Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquor

In the glass: The Gnome Knows Syrah wine is a deeply opaque blackish-red color with a deep purplish core going out into a fine bright violet rim definition with medium-high painted viscosity.

On the nose: There are deeply concentrated and powerful notes of crushed black fruit dominated by black cherries, loganberries, elderberry fruit and brambleberries. Following that initial onslaught, there are minty phenolics, licorice extract, white pepper references, herbs, blackberry liqueur and earthy minerals underlying.

On the palate: The wine fills the mouth with a concentrated, powerful and richly spicy nectar of crushed black cherries, plums and boysenberries. Layers of extracted black fruit, phenolics, pepper-laced cherry juice and minerals follow, going into a tremendous midpalate that is just loaded with quality in fruit extract, oak references and star anise-infused berry juice. The finish is lovely and lingering with a nice balance among the concentrated fruit, relatively high alcohol and ripe soft tannins that at no time intrude on the quality or taste of this interesting wine.

Odds and ends: Wines that bear labels with strange or funny names are often made to attract the attention of wine consumers browsing the shelves of local wine retailers. This would appear to be such a wine, the label has a picture of a cunning looking gnome making away with a basket of grapes, but that is where the merits of blind tasting come into effect. Not looking at the label, a wine must stand on its own merit. This is an overachieving tasty treat.

You can taste this wine and many more at the 39th annual UNLVino from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Paris Las Vegas. Get tickets at Lee’s Discount Liquor will have this at its booth with special gifts for anyone who comes over.

Drink The Gnome Knows Syrah now through 2015, and it should be perfect with a juicy medium-rare hamburger with Swiss cheese.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at

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