Since this was the first time getting a lot of family together in quite some time due to Covid, we decided to throw together an informal outdoor Syrah tasting. The weather was bright and sunny, but cool with a slight breeze which was perfect for tasting reds. Dinner was going to follow shortly after the tasting, and the main course was grilled leg of lamb, so we opted for Syrah. Snice most of those in attendance have mostly Washington in their cellars, that's what we went with.
All wines were tasted blind. Going into the tasting, I knew of the five wines, but someone else wrapped and labeled them in random order. I even went so far as to change out the corks with some old ones before the wines were wrapped, just to make sure nobody could "cheat."
- 2017 Delmas Syrah SJR Vineyard - USA, Oregon, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
Tasted blind. This was the first wine poured and I knew, almost without a doubt, this had a good amount of Viognier in it. The nose was all red fruit: raspberry and pie cherry, but with an underlying subtle peachy note that, to me, screamed Viognier. A big wine, but quite light in color and in weight, so my "big" is in the concentration and flavor that just exploded. Long and fine on the finish. My mom said, "wimpy," but I totally disagree. Finesse is a word I used. While young, this offers a ton of enjoyment now. Not sure ageing is needed, although it won't harm the wine I wouldn't think. This was my favorite of the tasting. (94 pts.)
- 2008 Bunnell Family Cellars Syrah Clifton Hill Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope
Tasted blind. The nose was riper than the first wine (this wine is second in the lineup), and showed some alcoholic heat. After reveal, seeing as how the first wine was a 2017 Delmas SJR Syrah, the stark difference in the nose doesn't surprise me. Really interesting cardamom or clove note in the nose. The palate is nice, with blackberry fruit and a little herb. Zero tannin left. Tasty, but should be consumed soon. (90 pts.)
- 2014 Owen Roe Syrah Union Gap Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley
Tasted blind. Third wine in the lineup. Nose wasn't good: smelled prune-like and roasted. I think this wine is already over-the-hill. Surprisingly tannic still, though. Plum and spice on the palate with grainy and significant tannic presence. This doesn't taste flawed, and I doubt it was cooked, as Dad bought it from the tasting room a few miles away. Too bad. (80 pts.)
- 2012 Betz Family Syrah La Côte Rousse - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
Tasted blind. This smells great: nice and fresh, albeit not as "big" as the three noses before it. Cherry and spice dominates. Blackberry fruit, but on the less-ripe side, if that makes sense. Some underbrush as well. What strikes me the most is the lovely balance and purity here. Sneaky tannins show up on the very long finish. This could age more, but it's great now. My guess, based on those tannins: Red Mountain. (93 pts.)
- 2012 Matello Fool's Journey Deux Vert - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
Tasted blind. This wine was the fifth and final wine tasted. This was a total standout from the other four wines and, after the reveal, that's not surprising as the other four were Washington wines. The nose was shot through with a very interesting herbaceousness under the bright pepper-inflicted red fruit. Much more acidity than the other four wines, which makes me think this is probably the Oregon fruit. Quite Rhone-like, actually, with its briary/peppery character and great acidity. Delicious, and even better with food. After reveal, I was really surprised to see that there was (going from memory) 10% Viognier(?) blended in. It wasn't apparent at all. (91 pts.)
- 2012 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah Stonessence - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
Not decanted. The nose on this was killer right away: a complex mélange of raspberry, earl grey tea, pepper, and soy sauce. The palate was perfectly balanced and, even though it's a mid-weight wine, the concentration was outstanding. Equally complex as the nose was, with loads of personality: dark fruit, spice, umami-like notes, all with a very long finish. One step behind the Delmas tasted earlier, but not by much. This is such distinct Syrah. (93 pts.)
- 2013 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah Foothills Reserve - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
Not decanted. I like this a little less than the 2012 Reynvaan Stonessence tasted alongside, but it's still outstanding. Red and dark fruit on the nose. On the palate, it's a little funky, but has beautiful fruit. A nice little note that reminds me of the liquid you get from rehydrating dried porcini mushrooms. Long finish. Good now and in no sign of decline. (92 pts.)
The pic two above shows the wines in the order tasted, from left to right. My guess, before the reveal was: Delmas, Owen Roe, Bunnell, Betz, Matello. Turns out, I was close: I switched the Owen Roe and Bunnell. With that over-the-hill nose, I was certain it was the 13-year-old wine. I was wrong. These were all good, save the one, and it was a very fun tasting. It really highlighted the wine variance of styles of Syrah that come out of the region.
Posted from CellarTracker