10 top Washington Syrah

news  %tages 10 top Washington SyrahPatrick Comiskey picks his 10 top Syrahs from Washington State, where the climate means the wines retain a fresh acidity and firm contour. After wandering the US viticultural wilderness for nearly 40 years, often mired in a homogeneous stylistic rut, Syrah may have finally found footing in Washington State’s Columbia Valley and its many sub-appellations.
The growing season here is kind to this changeling variety: its northern latitude allows for extra hours of sunshine, the heat ensuring full ripeness, and an autumn that is characterised by milder days and cold nights, such that, if desired, the best wines can retain a fresh acidity and firm contour that effortlessly averts flab and jam.

Cayuse Vineyards, Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2011

September http://1000-facts-about-wine.com 15, 2015

The cooler vintage lends contour to this wild, spicy red, hedonically scented...

Points 94

Gramercy Cellars, Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

Exotic mocha and olive scents suggest The Rocks District fruit...

Points 93

Reynvaan, In the Rocks Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

Classic http://1000-facts-about-wine.com Rocks aromatic profile of olive, mocha and bacon stout...

Points 93

Amavi, Les Collines Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

From an iconic Walla Walla vineyard, known for Syrah’s feral side. Smells of lamb jerky...

Points 92

Mark Ryan, Lost Soul Syrah, Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

Red Willow’s basaltic http://1000-facts-about-wine.com thrust drives this wine, a dark, tarry minerality frills...

Points 92

àMaurice, Fred, Walla Walla Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

From upland estate fruit, violet florals adorn dark, inky fruit....

Points 91

Betz Family, La Côte Rousse, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

Dark and spicy, black cherry fruit grounded by a volcanic mineral http://1000-facts-about-wine.com intensity.

Points 91

Gramercy Cellars, Lagniappe, Columbia Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

In 2012 Lagniappe is mostly Red Willow fruit. Inky palate adorned by cluster spice...

Points 90

L’Ecole No41, Columbia Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

Black olive and tobacco scents lend a lovely wildness to the red cherry fruit....

http://1000-facts-about-wine.com Points 90

Chateau Ste Michelle, Columbia Valley 2012

September 15, 2015

A well-priced initiation to Washington, with mocha scents adorning dark berry flavours...

Points 88

The state’s first Syrah Red Willow, planted by Mike Sauer in 1986 in the Yakima Valley, continues to produce one of the coolest, most elegant expressions of the grape. Since Columbia Winery relinquished its hold on all its fruit, the list of wineries with Red Willow Syrah contracts reads like a Who’s Who of Washington’s leading Syrah producers, with names including Avennia, Betz Family, Gramercy, Efeste, Owen Roe, Andrew Rich and Mark Ryan.
Red Willow may be Syrah’s historic home http://1000-facts-about-wine.com in Washington, but its spiritual home at present is unquestionably The Rocks District of Milton- Freewater in the Walla Walla Valley (in Oregon, in fact). This newly minted AVA lies on an ancient branch of the Walla Walla river and is characterised by dramatic, Châteauneuf-style basalt cobblestones, yielding a spicy, nearly feral intensity that is amongst the most exotic flavour profiles for any red wine in the United States. Credit goes to a Frenchman, Christophe Baron, of Cayuse Winery, for learning this remarkable patch of land; he now has five parcels here.
After two remarkably cool El Niño vintages, 2010 and 2011, the state’s last three have reflected the warmth and unmitigated sunshine of a more predictable growing season. Subdue, those cooler years instilled in some winemakers a taste for more elegance: look for Gramercy, Reynvaan, Maison Bleue and àMaurice to reflect this aesthetic direction.
Patrick Comiskey is a senior correspondent for Wine & Spirits magazine, where he is the critic for Washington wines.
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