March 26, 2010

Washington Syrah Tasting

Was fortunate to be invited by the good folks at Tastelive and Hospice du Rhone to participate in an online tasting of some fine Syrahs from Washington. It was a strong lineup, all of the wines I'd like to own and drink again. Also, several of the wines were deserving of some time in the cellar.

We kicked things off with the 2007 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lagniappe--($40)...13.9% alcohol...I really liked this wine. My favorite of the tasting. It showed the old-world charm I adore. Herbal and earthy, with black olive notes, pepper, and a very soft weight to the palate. Alcohol on the low side, too. Very nice effort.

The 2007 Delille Cellars Syrah Doyenne ($40) was somewhat heavier and riper than the Gramercy. That being said, it remained rather clean and precise on the palate. There was a lot of dark fruit and some of the nearly 15% alcohol was showing. It's a big Syrah. Not exactly my style, but it has some charm. Needs some time in the cellar.

The 2007 K Vintners Syrah Phil Lane ($65) was a real powerhouse Syrah. Dripping with dark, ripe fruit, it was a mouth coating, lush wine. Thick and viscous, it coats the palate with dark fruit and structure. Another wine that needs time and/or a big piece of meat. Recorked and put back in the fridge, I'm going to see what this is like after 48 hours.

The 2006 Columbia Valley Syrah ($30) was the least interesting wine of the night, but that's perhaps because of the decent showing of the other wines. It was a fine everyday Syrah that seemed correct in everyway. Perhaps that's a compliment itself. Represents decent value.

All-in-all, it was a fine night of Syrah from Washington. While I'm not regularly a buyer of WA Syrah, I'd be happy to own and drink all of these wines again. Thanks to the folks at Tastelive and Hospice du Rhone for another good time.


  1. LOVE Syrah, but haven't had a ton of Washington efforts. Would love to get my hands on some of these to try; all but the Columbia Valley seem a little cost-prohibitive.

  2. I've had very few from WA too, Joe. These were quite nice, more restrained than most I've had from California. Worth a look, but, as you alluded to, none of these were value-oriented wines. Each would push my limits a bit. Thanks for the visit.

  3. Excited to read your post about the Washington Syrah tasting. I wasn't able to participate in the event but followed the Twitter stream.

    There is an enormous amount of wine coming out of Washington but the wine people who live here - including myself - are most excited about is Syrah. This event had some great examples, particularly the Gramercy Cellars and K Vintners wines. Unfortunately many of the best wines do not make it out of Washington state. As you mentioned as well, they tend to have higher price tags ($35+). However, keep an eye out for Betz, McCrea, Walter Dacon, Waters Winery, as well as two new wineries, Kerloo and Rotie Cellars to name just a few.

    My blog, Washington Wine Report, contains information on these and other wines coming from the state if you want to do some vicarious living. Also, check out the extended Focus report I did on Gramercy Cellars a while back for more information about their wines and the people behind them.

  4. Hey, Sean. Thanks for the visit. WA Syrah is perhaps the US wine area/variety I have the least experience with. I enjoyed this tasting quite a bit; several of the wines appealed to my old-world leanings. Nice blog you have, much good info. there. Thanks!