TN: Walla Walla Syrah Festival Grand Tasting

WALLA WALLA SYRAH FESTIVAL GRAND TASTING - Valdemar Cellars Walla Walla (7/16/2022)

Other than the stemware this was a great event but with some persistent asking I was able to come up with a stem for the occasion. While young, many of these wines showed great potential and some drinking well right now. Alll wineries were alphabetical which made it for easy access to the wineries.

  • 2017 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    This was the 2nd best wine at the Walla Walla Syrah festival. Classic rocks wine with floral, funk, raspberries, earth, white pepper and stone. Concentrated wine and long finish. (96 pts.)
  • 2014 Abeja Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    This was very nice and showing well. I believe this was the oldest Syrah served at the Grand Tasting Saturday night. Cherry, plum, charcoal, stone and rose petals. Very nice fruit and finish. Nice way to start the alphabet at a tasting. (93 pts.)
  • 2017 Adamant Cellars Syrah Artisan - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Very nice Syrah with red currants, dust, earth, pepper and mild spices. Good concentration and medium plus finish. Drink now to 2029. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 Adamant Cellars Syrah Artisan - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Very sold effort featuring plum, bramble, floral, spices and smoked meat. Medium plus finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 Amavi Cellars Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Very nice base bottling effort and good value. Underbrush, black pepper, game, blue currents and dust. Medium plus finish. This should drink well for a decade. (91 pts.)
  • 2019 Armstrong Family Winery Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    This was a bigger style Syrah and featured black pepper, blackberries, dark cherry, floral and earth. Medium plus finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 Armstrong Family Winery Syrah The Scotsman - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Sweet fruits, pepper, spice and floral notes. A tasty effort however not a complex wine. (90 pts.)
  • 2015 Balboa Winery Syrah Pandemonium Eidólon Estate Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Balboa was a head turner for me at the Grand Syrah Tasting. The 2018 Reserve Syrah was wine of the night and this was also very good. Dark currants, black pepper, bramble, spice and earth. Medium plus finish and concentrated wine. This has plenty of life left. Drink now to 2027. (93 pts.)
  • 2016 Bledsoe Family Winery Syrah Stolen Horse - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Fragrant wine with cherry, plum, stone, earth and dark chocolate. Very tasty. (93 pts.)
  • 2019 Canvasback Syrah Funk Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Stone, earth, red currants, smoked meats and gravel. Good concentration and classic Rocks Funk. Excellent wine. 93+ (93 pts.)
  • 2018 Cayuse Grenache Edith Rosé - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    I am a huge fan of Cayuse but this is not a Rose I would expect from them. Thin would be a good descriptor for this wine along with watermelon, mild spice and floral. Don’t let the name influence your score on this one as I had many better Rose wines in Walla Walla this past weekend that sell for far less. (87 pts.)
  • 2019 Amavi Cellars Syrah Stone Valley Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Nice showing featuring bramble, crushed stone, blueberries, white pepper and dried herbs. Medium plus finish. (93 pts.)
  • 2017 Corliss Estates Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Blueberry, sour cherry, black licorice, pepper and earth. Medium finish. (91 pts.)
  • 2019 Dusted Valley Vintners Syrah Stained Tooth - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Stained Tooth is one of the best value Syrah’s in the state. This wine is amazing. Dark fruits, smoke, black pepper, minerals, earth and roasted meat. Medium to long finish and concentrated. Stoney Vine Estate Vineyard and Breezy Slope Vineyard (Blue Mountain). One of the top wines at the Grand Tasting. (94 pts.)
  • 2019 Dusted Valley Vintners Syrah Tall Tales Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Very solid showing with stone, mild funk, green olives, bacon fat and earth. While young shows future promise to improve. 92+ (92 pts.)
  • 2017 Elephant Seven Syrah Diwa - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Had this in 2019 and the oak has soften reveling plum, minerals, mild funk, floral and granite. Medium finish. Nice value. (91 pts.)
  • 2016 Elephant Seven Syrah Yellow Bird Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Another great value from Walla Walla. Bright fruit, minerals, rose petals, a touch of pepper and twigs. Medium plus finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2018 Gifford Hirlinger Syrah Obligatory - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Fruit forward Syrah featuring blackberries, ripe plums and Bing Cherries. Adds some smoke and earthiness on the finish. Drinking well right now but could be held for 5 plus years. (93 pts.)
  • 2014 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Forgotten Hills Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    A little better than the tasting room today. More fruit present in this bottle featuring blueberries, cherry, smoke, crushed rock, minerals, pepper and earth. Medium finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 L’Ecole No. 41 Syrah Estate Seven Hills Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    For sure not what they do best. Big style with dark fruits, pepper and earth. Cellar until 2026. (88 pts.)
  • 2018 Maison Bleue Syrah Frontiere Funk Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Wow is this good! Black pepper, gravel, dark fruits, spices, stone and floral notes. Super complex wine and really long finish. This is amazing there are no notes on this wine. (94 pts.)
  • 2018 Maison Bleue Syrah Gravière Stone Valley Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley Snipes Mountain
    This was very good featuring pepper, briquet, rose petals, dried twigs and minerals. Complex wine and just a touch under the quality of the 18 Frontiere. (93 pts.)
  • 2020 Maison Bleue Lisette Rosé - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Another Rose that falls under 90. Watermelon, spice and a short finish. This is not bad but can someone make a Rose from Washington with some flavor? (87 pts.)
  • 2018 Northstar Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Solid overall with cherry, plum, chalk, dark chocolate and spice. Medium finish. (90 pts.)
  • 2019 Rôtie Cellars Northern Blend - USA, Oregon, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
    Violets, brisket, blue fruits, smoke and earth. Good but so many better wines on this night. (91 pts.)
  • 2019 Proper Wines Estate Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Mild funk, gravel, blueberries, cherry, coffee beans and floral notes. Little softer than the Northern Blend on this night. (90 pts.)
  • 2016 Saviah Cellars Syrah The Funk Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Savory wine from the Rocks. Richard “Funk” along with brazed short ribs, dust, rock, floral and dark currants. Medium plus finish and a wine that will age a long time. (93 pts.)
  • 2016 Saviah Cellars The Stones Speak Estate Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Wonderful wine and classic white pepper, black olives, funk, stone, blue currants and smoked meats. This is an amazing effort and you would never find this level of quality for this price from the Northern Rhone. Had this wine twice last time in Walla Walla in 2019. (95 pts.)
  • 2019 Sleight of Hand Syrah Psychedelic Stoney Vine Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Tasted a day prior at the seminar and bottle holds true to form. Roasted peppers, underbrush, raspberries, spices and black pepper. Not a big wine and very elegant for Rocks district. Nice effort. (93 pts.)
  • 2019 Sleight of Hand Syrah Levitation - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    This was very nice and another Trey solid. Red currants, white pepper, floral, olives and earth. Drinking well young but has potential in the cellar. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 Pášxa Syrah Rockgarden Estate - USA, Oregon, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
    Pášxa/ Walls stole the tasting for their wines. This featured gravel, blue currants, earth, violets and white pepper. Nice acidity overall for a Rocks Syrah. Not a powerhouse and shows some nice finesse. Wonderful. (93 pts.)
  • 2019 The Walls Vineyards Mahana - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Pášxa and Walls Table was great. This was my least favorite of the 4 but still 92 points. Dark berries, coffee beans, roasted meat, white pepper and olives. Medium finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 The Walls Vineyards Syrah Gaspard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Pášxa and Walls table rocked it tonight. My 2nd favorite at the table by a little bit. Underbrush, violets, blueberries, ripe cherry, pepper and mild smoke. Concentrated effort and long finish. Will drink well through 2035. 93-95. (93 pts.)
  • 2019 Watermill Winery Syrah Au Natural - USA, Oregon, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
    One of the top wines of the night. Fragrant wine with floral, earth, tar, white pepper, minerals, mild funk and blue currants. Super wine and value. (94 pts.)
  • 2019 Woodward Canyon Syrah Estate Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Dark fruits, spice and earth. Pales in comparison to the many other Syrah’s at the event. (88 pts.)
  • 2018 Zerba Cellars Syrah Estate Walla Walla Valley - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Wood, and fruit. Very one dimensional effort. (87 pts.)
  • 2018 Zerba Cellars Syrah Estate The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater - USA, Oregon, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
    Much better than the Walla Walla Syrah from Zebra. Funk, pepper, spices, blueberries and tar. Medium plus finish. (91 pts.)
  • 2019 Valdemar Estates Syrah Klipsun Vineyard Red Mountain - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Maybe the most overprice Syrah at this tasting. For 91 points should be less than $70. Blueberries, smoke, roasted peppers, spices and earth. A bit hot on the finish. (91 pts.)
  • 2019 Valdemar Estates Syrah Blue Mountain - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    2nd time tasting this in a few days. Dark fruits, floral, earth, coffee beans, smoke and minerals. Very nice and I like this a lot better than their Red Moutain Syrah. (92 pts.)
  • 2020 Pášxa Syrah Rock Garden Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Wine 3 of the Night at the Walla Walla Syrah Festival Grand Tasting. Classic Rock Garden with rose petals, funk, pepper, gravel, red currants and earth. Long and complex finish. This will improve with age. Get some now! 95+ (95 pts.)
  • 2016 Ducleaux Cellars Anarchy - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
    Nice wine overall from Red Moutain with cherry, plum, spice, floral and earth. Picks up some cracked pepper on the finish. Drink now to 2025. (91 pts.)
  • 2019 Dunham Cellars Syrah - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
    Chocolate, plum, black pepper, floral and spices. Solid effort. (90 pts.)
  • 2019 Prospice Syrah Resurgent Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Crushed stone, white pepper, underbrush, violets, earth and chalk. Nice wine and medium plus finish. (92 pts.)
  • 2019 Prospice Syrah Les Collines Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Bigger in style than the Resurgent featuring blackberries, tar, dark cherries and spice. Medium plus finish. (91 pts.)
  • 2018 Balboa Winery Syrah Reserve Stoney Vine Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Super high praise for this wine as it was my wine of the night at the Grand Tasting Walla Walla Syrah Festival. Same score as the 2017 Cayuse Armanda by this is half the price. Super fragrant nose featuring black olives, minerals, rocks funk, blue currants, earth and stone. This is classic rocks and a serious wine. (96 pts.)

These were my top 5 wines of the night:

  1. 2018 Balboa Winery Syrah Reserve Stoney Vine Vineyard
  2. 2017 Cayuse Syrah Armada Vineyard
  3. 2020 Pášxa Syrah Rock Garden Vineyard
  4. 2019 Watermill Winery Syrah Au Natural
  5. 2019 Dusted Valley Vintners Syrah Stained Tooth
    Posted from CellarTracker
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Thanks for all the notes! Way beyond a quantity that I can do in a single tasting.

Of the Rose I have only had the cayuse, but think you and I may look for different styles in Rose as I find most in the region to be too much fruit and not enough acid and finesse.

So I was waiting to find a Rose from Washington above 90 points (feel like James Suckling) but this is it for me!

2021 Hoquetus Wine Co Cabernet Franc Rosé Seven Hills Vineyard