Ever since the Phoenicians and Romans brought their knowledge of vine cultivation to Spanish soils, the country's culture has grown alongside wine production, with wine being a vital part of Spanish identity and Spanish traditions. Each region of Spain has a wine quite distinct from the others, and it is produced by smallholders and families as much as it is by large companies and established wineries. From the relatively mild and lush regions of La Rioja to the arid plateaus that surround Madrid, grapes are grown in abundance for the now booming Spanish wine industry, and new laws and regulations have recently been put in place to keep the country's standards high. By combining traditional practices with modern technology, Spanish wineries are continuing to produce distinctive wines of great character, flavor and aroma, with the focus shifting in recent decades to quality over quantity.
There is a new pure Syrah developed in conjunction with Australian winemaker Chris Ringland, first bottled in 2013, but I already tasted the 2014 Zarihs. It is produced with an Australian clone of the grape planted in Borja in 2002. Forty percent of the volume aged in new American oak barrels. It has a ripe and heady nose, very Ringland, deeply balsamic with meaty and roasted flavors, smoky and showy, with that patina of sweet spices lent by the American wood. This is full-bodied and juicy, a voluptuous Syrah with deep balsamic and roasted flavors. Borja with an Australian accent. Very good in its style and very good for the price asked. It should develop nicely in bottle for a few years.