Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Rhone Reds and Blends with Neapolitan Pork Chops
I continue my celebration of red wines crafted from the Rhone varieties Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and others. In the Pacific Northwest, our mild summer has yielded to a cool fall, enticing wine lovers to reach for hearty reds that accompany the meaty, flavorful meals of the season. I begin with some southern Rhone blend selections and move to northern Rhone (Syrah) wines at the end of the column.
This is actually more of a Northern Rhone blend with a larger percentage of Syrah than the other varieties. (64% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, 11% Grenache) My tasters found it the most complex and interesting wine in the flight showing ripe plum, cranberry and cherry fruit with spice and soft tannins. Columbiawinery.com
This unique blend comes from Rocky Pond Winery’s estate vineyards near Lake Chelan in Washington’s Columbia Valley appellation. The wine offers cherry and plum aromas and flavors and expands upon aeration to include notes of floral, mineral and smoky meat notes – very tasty with meats from the grill. Rockypondwinery.com
The son of a world-renowned winemaker (Mike Januik), Andrew Januik was born with winemaking in his blood and the proof is in the pressing. Every single one of the wines that Andrew has made since starting his eponymous label in 2011 have all been rated above 90 points. His Los Molinos (the olive mill) GSM blend shows somewhat of the influence of his father with layers of complex fruit and distinct notes of spicy oak and caramel. Noveltyhilljanuik.com
It’s nice to see more California wineries adding Rhone blends to their offerings. This flavorful Grand Reserve offers red currant and mixed wild cherry flavors with background notes of chocolate and cedar box. Aging in French oak and pre-fermentation cold-soak adds layers of complexity adds complexity and hints of vanilla and caramel.
This tasty Rhone blend features 70% Grenache with 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah. The grapes are harvested from properties on different sides of the Rhone River – each offering different terroir and contributing different styles to the wine. Look for aromas and flavors of dark plum and earthy mineral with notes of violets and spice.
Rich Funk of Saviah Cellars says of The Jack series of wines, “they are the best bet for high value and exceptional quality. My tasters agree! Saviah has offered several varieties of The Jack for almost a decade and they are among the very best Northwest wines for the money. Look for aromatic cherry and raspberry with notes of floral perfume, toasty oak and mineral – great with rich meats and hearty sauces.Saviahcellars.com
“Bin 28 offers a showcase of warm climate Australian Shiraz – ripe, robust and generously flavoured.” I have been a fan of this bottling for years, enjoying it with hearty meat dishes and as a pairing to dark chocolate when the occasion arises. Aromas of ripe blackberry dance among olives, tobacco and mineral leading to rich flavors of dark fruits, tar and caramel-vanilla. Penfolds.com
This special wine from the Walla Walla Valley comes from the most widely esteemed vineyard in the AVA and demonstrates why Seven Hills has gained its reputation. I joined other Seattle wine writers with the vineyard owners in the mid-1980s for a show-and-tell of the vineyard’s attributes at the first harvest. My tasters enjoyed the classic Syrah character of mineral, smoky game and earthy tar over layers of blueberry, plum and hints of floral perfume. Lecole.com
Winemaker Holly Turner crafted this rich and rustic Syrah from grapes grown in the Walla Walla Valley, mostly at Minnick Hills Vineyard north Walla Walla. Aging in French oak – 50% new – added character and toasty nuances with hints of caramel and vanilla. Aromas and flavors of dark fruits, smoked meats and dusty herbs create a perfect wine to pair with your fall meats from the grill. Threeriverswinery.com
Iconic Copain Winery overlooks the bucolic Russian River Valley in California, crafting Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Their Tous Ensemble (all together) wines are approachable, casual and ready to drink. The Syrah from select cool climate vineyards in Mendocino County offers raspberry, blackberry and spice with notes of pencil lead, toast and soft tannins.
This wine came from the much-heralded Boushey Vineyard in Washington’s Yakima Valley.
This site is known for world-class Syrah that brings fame to the region. My tasters noted deep aromas and flavors of dark fruits, spicy pepper, violets and smoked meats. Additional complexity includes cigar wrapper, savory olive and balancing acidity. Delillecellars.com
Greg Osenbach of Whidbey Island Winery crafts this savory rosé for his friend Sieb Jurriaans for his Prima Bistro in nearby downtown Langley. The wine is a natural for the French-inspired Northwest bistro fare at this popular local restaurant. The pale orange-pink color leads to aromas and flavors of melon, light strawberry, savory herbs and refreshing citrus and mineral.
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