Wine Tasting Dinner: More Washington Syrah



By Kori ~ March 10th, 2008.

After Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Syrah is the third most common red grape variety in Washington State. The total amount of Syrah grapes planted in Washington has greatly increased in recent years. As fans of the Shiraz/Syrah varietal, this is a trend that the Wine Peeps are excited to see.

20080310_morewasyrah.jpgSince we enjoyed all of the Washington Syrahs that we had at last month’s tasting dinner, we decided to try another set at this month’s dinner last Friday evening. As a whole this group of wines was not as strong as last month’s. From the very beginning, the top three set themselves apart from the bottom three.

Both the 2004 Chateau Ste Michelle Ethos Syrah and the 2003 Three Rivers Syrah were excellent with the 2005 Amavi Walla Walla Syrah finishing a solid third. For me, the biggest surprise of the evening was the 2003 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Shiraz which finished in last place. Columbia Crest is one of our favorite wineries, producing excellent wines at reasonable prices. Columbia Crest wines of many different varietals and vintages have been in a number of our 57 previous wine tasting dinners. I cannot remember a single one of their wines finishing below 2nd place until now. In fact, their 2003 Columbia Crest Two Vines Shiraz won last month’s tasting. And generally speaking, the Grand Estates label is considered superior to the Two Vines label. But that is definitely not the case with the 2003 Shiraz.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2004 Chateau Ste Michelle Ethos Syrah: Pleasant aromas of spice and lavender with hints of horseradish and tobacco. Crisp, black fruit flavors, ripe tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: MadWine (Washington), $25.99

2003 Three Rivers Syrah: My favorite of the evening. Movie theater-style buttered popcorn on the nose leads to luscious black cherry and plum flavors. Smooth tannins and good acidity. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop – Eastside (Seattle area), $15.99

2005 Amavi Walla Walla Syrah: Distinct smoky notes throughout. Fruit-forward with subtle tannins and a medium finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop – Eastside (Seattle area), $22.99

2006 Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Price: $22.39

2005 Seven Hills Walla Walla Syrah
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Price: $26.99

2003 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Shiraz
Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Price: $8.99


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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