Travelling to Seattle: Help with WA State Syrah

I am a Rhone wine lover and just recently started to look at CA and WA state syrah for old world Rhone style Syrah wines but I have limited knowledge of the wines and wineries and vineyards. I do prefer a bigger, meatier syrah typical of Hermitage or Crozes-Hermitage (rather than lighter styles from St. Joe for instance) but I find most N Rhones need age and are not that approachable when young. My theory is that a new world syrah fashioned after old world style might have a nice balance between old world structure and new world approachability. Wines I can drink now while waiting for the N Rhones to age. Even a big monster WA state syrah that needs air would be interesting to me to drink now. When I was in Seattle last week I picked up a bottle of Va Piano syrah and a Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes from DeLaurenti in the Seattle market. I bought these mostly because they are not available in Canada and they were recommended to me. From what I’ve read online after purchasing, I think these were good purchases. I will be back in Seattle again next week and would like to purchase a few more bottles of WA state Syrah. I’m tempted to get some more Va Piano. But would be open to suggestions. I’d like to keep it in the $30-$40 range at most, but a $20 QPR would be even better. From searches on this board I read that the state controls prices and there won’t be much difference in price between a Costco and a boutique store. So if someone can recommend a store as well, that would be great. I will be staying at a hotel in Tukwila but will be downtown as well. And if anyone knows of a good eatery that has WA syrah by the glass I’d be interested in that too. I really like Cafe Campagne and plan to eat there most evenings, but some variety couldn’t hurt as long as there is red meat or French style cuisine on the menu.


Walk a couple of blocks further south in the market and go to Pike and Western wine shop. I can recommend others, but if that is your general area, they will take good care of you. I would recommend three producers as a starting point based on your notes.

Gramercy, Waters and Rotie. If we put Cayuse aside due to lack of availibilty and expense, I believe these are among the strongest producers in the state at the moment.

For a quick primer on WA syrah, check out Paul Gregutt’s blog:" onclick=";return false;

IMHO, Boushey vineyard in Yakima is a standout “Grand Cru” vineyard for WA syrah. McCrea makes my fav Boushey syrah and it’s priced under $40. Other labels to watch for: Owen Roe, SYZYGY, Gorman (at $40 but really good).

For expert help, visit Esquin Wine Merchants near downtown Seattle. Great selection of WA wine, and they do a good job giving recommendations within a specified budget and stylistic preference.

From searches on this board I read that the state controls prices and there won’t be much difference in price between a Costco and a boutique store.

WA state controls hard liquor sales but not aware of any pricing controls on wine. . . [scratch.gif]

And if anyone knows of a good eatery that has WA syrah by the glass I’d be interested in that too.

Unfortunately, not aware of any Seattle restaurant/wine bar that has a particular focus on syrah. . . [cry.gif]

Enjoy your Seattle visit!

Thank you both for that information. That’s all I need to know. Any more would make me loose focus, so please no more replies! newhere

The Va Piano wasn’t to my liking. A nicely concentrated fruit and well built and balanced wine. Smooth tannins. More new than old world. Not much of a monster. It was a bit tight and opened up with air. It definitely and noticeably lacked the smokey and meaty bacon I prefer in a syrah. And there wasn’t any spice. It lacked character to me. Not very interesting. I might try the Crozes this weekend too because I’d like to know if it is good so I can buy more next week.

HA! Another reply!!

See Dan McCarthy on Queen Anne hill (easy bus or cab ride from downtown) too. Dan’s been around WA wine as along as anyone and will steer you right. Michael Teer at Pike and Western will too.

BTW, I tried an Edmunds St John Old Black Magic and thought it was very much like what you seem to be looking for. $20. Not a WA wine, but it is distributed here. Any of the wine shops mentioned could order you a bottle if it’s not sold in Canada. Call ahead of course…

I confess I know more about CA and WA syrah than I let on. After researching a few months ago I found so many rec’s for ESJ I put it on the top of my wish list. Even phoned the winery and discovered they don’t have an importer in Canada. So picking some up in Seattle should be a good move. Now I have so many options (and not enough suitcase space) I’m going to ignore any new recommendations!

If a shop isn’t familiar with the ESJ it’s handled by Triage.

Bryan, buy all you want and rent a storage locker from me! Joking, but I do have quite a few clients in Canada. Hope you enjoy your visit to Seattle.

For $40 or so you can pick up the 2008 Gramercy Walla Walla Valley Syrah. I would also look for any number of KVintners bottlings in that price range. If you want to spend $50 then Betz has some knock out 08 syrahs as well. Most if not all of these wines should be available in the better Seattle wine shops.


I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this by other WA state posters, but (in general) I think WA Syrah is overrated…

Cayuse is an exception, but little chance you’ll find it at retail. Betz has a great trio of Syrahs, including La Serenne from Boushey fruit – agree with the post about the quality of that vineyard. In my opinion, the QPR standout is the Ross Andrew Syrah from Boushey – just as good as most of the names the posts above, but < $30 per.


I know the OP isn’t listening anymore, but I am also fond of Kerloo and Alexandria Nicole syrahs.

Reynvaan. May be hard to find but would be worth the search.

I’ve really enjoyed the Doyenne Syrah from DeLille.

Since a previous mention of Rotie was overlooked, I want to mention them again. The winemaker is a fan of Rhone wines. I really enjoyed a tasting there this summer.


I did well 2night at Esquin Wine Merchants. Definitely did well in picking up wines recommended in this thread and also something that wasn’t exactly recommended. And these are wines I can’t get back in Canada so I like the uniqueness factor.

2 bottles of the 2007 Ross Andrew Syrah (Boushey) after that strong recommendation for this QPR. That was the last 2 in the store.

1 bottle of the 2008 Mark Ryan Lost Soul (Yakima Valley)

1 bottle of 2008 Rotie Northern Blend.

No Gramercy or Gorman Syrah left at the store.

And I’m not finding any ESJ in town.

I’ll try Pike and Western or McCarthy at Queen Anne tomorrow night. I might even phone the ESJ agent and see if they know of any retail stores with stock today.

I had the Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage purchased from DeLaurenti on the weekend. Loved this wine. It is not a big style Crozes. More light weight and delicate, but packed with character and style and very drinkable now. It is an 07. If I don’t find anything of interest at the other stores on Tuesday, I’ll get a couple more of these for the suitcase.

Thanks for all the recommendations.


I believe McCarthy’s QA store has some Gramercy. I special ordered my ESJ - people don’t seem to carry it for some reason. Might not help you this time, but a thought for next time. Dieter Klippstein has an account here too (he’s Triage, the ESJ disti here) - might PM him or see if he has his number in his profile.

Given what you are looking for, I would second (or third) the recommendations of Rotie Cellars, Gramercy, and Waters. All great balances of Old and New World.