Thursday, October 3, 2019

Syrah with Meats from the Grill

Red Rhone Varietals with Meats from the Grill

As I conclude this year’s examination of red Rhone varieties we enjoy together some superb and powerful Syrah based wines – the blends of the Northern Rhone. These rich wines offer dark fruits, spicy herbs, hints of lavender and lingering notes of oak aging – toasty wood, vanilla and caramel.

Many harvest time winery events take place in October and November. Visit for touring information and event timelines.

Rotie Cellars 2017 Northern Rhone Blend - $48

This wine from the Walla Walla Valley AVA was crafted by Sean Boyd who makes his wines in the lean and flavorful Old World style. The wine has a lot to teach wine drinkers who look for uber intense, oak heavy wines. Sean’s wines are the best in Washington for paying homage to the Rhone model. It is ripe and round with plum, mineral and earthy pepper mingling with hints of violets and citrus on the edges.

Warr-King 2016 Syrah, Columbia Valley - $36

Winemaker Lisa Packer crafted this flavorful Syrah from grapes grown at the Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Royal Slope) and Gamache Vineyard near White Bluffs on the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities. It is a rich and dark purple wine showing aromas and flavors of blackberry and blueberry with complex notes of pepper, olive spread and toasty caramel.

Novelty Hill 2017 Syrah, Columbia Valley - $23

This wine also hails from Novelty Hill’s estate Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope of Washington’s Frenchman Hills. Each vintage of this wine is celebrated for consistency and quality utilizing four Syrah clones: 1, 99, 174 and Joseph Phelps clone. Look for dark cherry and earthy plum with exotic spice and fine tannins on the finish.

Goedhart Family 2013 Syrah, Red Mountain - $29

Goedhart Family Winery is a brand under the umbrella of Hedges Family Estate. Sarah Hedges Goedhart is head winemaker for Hedges wines and also for her own eponymous family brand. This delicious and food friendly Syrah comes from grapes grown at the Hedges’ Bel Villa Vineyard on the slopes of Red Mountain. Look for aromas and flavors of dark fruits: cassis, blueberry and plum with complex notes of pepper, dark chocolate, vanilla and spice.

Murray 2016 Syrah, Red Mountain - $25

Murray is the second label for Hightower Cellars, a winery of Tim and Kelly Hightower who were early pioneers of the Red Mountain AVA. The wine name honors their loyal Golden Labrador Murray. The wine is no dog, offering dark cherry, blackberry and blueberry with hints of leather, toasty oak and vanilla.

Hard Row to Hoe 2016 Syrah, Lake Chelan - $45

The story of this winery’s name is worth a visit to their website at Don and Judy Phelps work with grapes from the local Defiance Vineyard on the shore of Lake Chelan to craft their Syrah which manifests the terroir of the Lake Chelan AVA – Judy says a more savory expression of the grape. Grill your favorite meat and then enjoy generous aromas of blackberry, dark fruits and vanilla leading to a rich palate with excellent concentration and freshness.

Nine Hats 2015 Syrah, Columbia Valley - $25

The inspiration for Nine Hats came from the nine internationally acclaimed winemakers who contribute their time and talents to develop th wines of Long Shadows Vintners. This classic Columbia Valley Syrah combines fruit from several vineyards including La Coye from Red Mountain and Stone Tree from the Wahluke Slope. Dark berries, anise and tobacco fill the nose and palate with notes of toasty mineral and hints of vanilla.

Cadaretta Wines 2015 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley - $35

This wine was largely constructed from the winery’s estate Southwind Vineyard in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley. It offers the classic Walla Walla Syrah character of blueberry and pomegranate melded into a food-friendly sip with oak aging that adds smoky meat, vanilla, caramel and hints of earthy tar.

Abacela 2015 Syrah, Barrel Select - $30

This hillside grown Syrah comes from the winery’s estate fault line vineyard in the Umpqua Valley of southern Oregon. Aging of the wine takes place in French oak with just a kiss of new barrel, the others just 2 year old or neutral. This wine evolves with breathing (which many say presages aging) to reveal dark cherry and blackberry with dried herb and earthy mineral.

Daven Lore 2014 Syrah, Snipes Mountain - $32

This winery in the foothills of Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills southwest of Prosser was named with a combination of two family names: Davenport and Taylor. The crafty, grape-stealing coyote on the label is named “Petro” after local petroglyphs. Winemaker Gordon Taylor likes this wine for its round aromas and flavors of dark cherry and blueberry which on the palate shows a softer side of vanilla custard and butterscotch – also a spiced meat character with coffee rub.

Blason d’ Aussieres, 2015, Corbieres, France - $14

This wine comes from Chateau Lafite Rothschild’s vineyards in southern France and is a southern Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan. In the glass, the wine shows dark red with violet edges beckoning a sniff which yields dark fruits, spicy rose and toasty notes of berry. The round palate adds fresh berry, elegant tannins and a spicy finish.

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