Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Syrah 2005



By Kori ~ March 25th, 2009.

Place setting for Wine Tasting DinnerSince we are in the midst of Washington Wine Month, we thought it was fitting to feature Syrah, our favorite Washington varietal, in this month’s wine tasting dinner. And taking it one step further, we focused on the 2005 vintage. To this point, many consider the 2005 vintage to be one of the best, if not the best, in the history of Washington State. Although, as I’ve said before, I believe that the 2007 vintage may ultimately be considered the best ever.

This was a very difficult tasting because there were no duds in the bunch. All six wines paired well with Mom’s dinner of tomato basil soup, mixed green salad, filet mignon, roasted asparagus spears, sweet potatoes with watercress sauce, and a heavenly chocolate cake topped with raspberries.

While the top three wines were very close in the group rankings, it was the Gorman The Pixie that stood out for me from the very first sip. I had not had the pleasure of tasting The Pixie before this tasting. Gorman Winery, located in Woodinville, Washington, was founded in 2002 by owner/winemaker Chris Gorman. He’s basically running a one-man show and doing a phenomenal job. He focuses primarily on Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that he sources from Red Mountain. In seven short years, he has received numerous accolades from the wine media. After tasting The Pixie, I can certainly see why. Gorman also partners with Mark Ryan McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery to make wines under their Giant Wine Company label.

Lineup of Washington SyrahsFollowing closely on the heels on The Pixie were the Columbia Crest Reserve and the Stevens BlackTongue. Once again, Columbia Crest delivers on both quality and price. Like Gorman, Stevens Winery is located in a business park in Woodinville and was founded in 2002 by owner/winemaker Tim Stevens and his wife Paige.

I always look forward to these monthly wine tasting dinners. There’s nothing better than enjoying wine in the company of good friends and family.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2005 Gorman Winery The Pixie Syrah (Red Mountain, Washington): My favorite of the evening from the first sip right on through dessert. Aromas and flavors of raspberries and blackberries. Medium to full-bodied with medium, soft tannins. Smooth, well-balanced, long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Seattle Wine Co. (Washington), $30.95

2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Syrah (Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): A bit tight on the nose at first; opens up with food. Intense flavors of blackberry and chocolate. Medium to full-bodied with high, drying tannins and a long finish. A big but well-balanced wine.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $20; Available elsewhere, $18 to $28

2005 Stevens BlackTongue Syrah (Yakima Valley, Washington): Blackberries and buttered popcorn aromas. More black fruits come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with medium tannins and a long finish. Gets better with food.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30 [Sold Out]

2005 Boudreaux Cellars Syrah (Washington State): Plums and black cherries dominate the nose. Leather and oak make an appearance on the palate. Medium-bodied with medium tannins and a long finish. Smooth.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop – Eastside (Washington), $37

2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark red with aromas of beef jerky and dark fruits. Cherry cola comes through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium, drying tannins and a long 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 (Washington), $25; Available elsewhere, $25 to $28

2005 Beresan Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Very different from the others with floral aromas and oaky flavors. Medium-bodied with medium tannins. Has a medium-length, funky finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Avalon Wine (Oregon), $31.45


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Chris Gorman | April 8th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Thanks for the nice words…I just discovered your review of the Pixie….Thanks for the note on the FB page. All the best.
    Chris Gorman

  2. Kori | April 8th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Chris,
    You are doing a fabulous job with Gorman Winery. In case you haven’t seen them yet, please check out my posts on Taste Washington from yesterday and today. I tasted the Bully at TW and thought it was excellent too. Keep up the good work!

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