Sally and I are huge fans of Hess wines. They seem to make everything really, really good. Perhaps our favorites are from the Small Block Series where the winemaker makes a limited quantity of very special wine.
We recently enjoyed a wonderful bottle of 2004 Hess Small Block Series Petite Syrah. This was a special occasion wine for us, so we brought it with us to Fleming's Prime Steakhouse to celebrate the five year anniversary of my company, Toister Performance Solutions. Fleming's always offers terrific food and service and this wine fit in perfectly.
The taste on this thing was incredible. It started very smooth and dark with lots of dark fruit (I'm thinking black cherry) and a hint of tobacco. In a great wine like this the flavors all stay together and it's almost dangerous because you aren't hit with a lot of alcohol, so you might not realize it's there. The finish was a blast of tannin that was perfect with a mouthful of steak. The wine was terrific by itself, with our mushroom ravioli appetizer, with our steaks, and even with the cheesecake for dessert. Yum!
The sad part about the Small Block Series is Hess doesn't make the same varietals from year to year. This one isn't on the market at the moment, so snag a bottle if you can find one!