Vertical Tasting of Saviah Red Mountain Syrah



By Kori ~ July 13th, 2009.

Owner/winemaker Rich Funk of Saviah Cellars pouring his Red Mountain SyrahLast month when we were in Walla Walla for Vintage Walla Walla weekend, we had the pleasure to visit with one of our favorite Washington winemakers, Rich Funk of Saviah Cellars.

Saviah Cellars is a family-owned winery located south of downtown Walla Walla, near the Oregon state line. Founded in 2000 by Rich Funk and his wife Anita, Saviah Cellars currently produces over 6,000 cases per year.

Rich took us through a vertical tasting of his Saviah Red Mountain Syrah from the 2003 through the 2007 vintage. (For those of you who are not familiar with a vertical tasting, it is one in which you taste different vintages of the same wine from the same winery.) The grapes for these wines all came from the oldest block of Syrah on Red Mountain at the Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyard.

Saviah Red Mountain SyrahOne of the things that I really admire about Rich’s winemaking style is that he strives for elegance rather than over-extracted huge wines. As a winemaker, he is all about the fruit, but his wines are not fruit bombs. Rich’s wines show balance, complexity, and elegance.

You can’t go wrong with any of these five Syrahs; they are all very good. However, the two that really stood out to us were the 2004 and the 2007. The 2004 is a fabulous wine that is showing really well right now. The 2007 has not even been released yet so it is still very young; however, it is already an excellent wine and should really open up even more with a few more years of age.

Tasting notes, in the order we tasted them:

2003 Saviah Red Mountain Syrah (Red Mountain, WA): Deep purple, not turning to brick yet. Dark fruits, pepper, smoke, and smoked meats.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

2004 Saviah Red Mountain Syrah (Red Mountain, WA): Deep purple. Red and blue fruits, spice, and pepper. Medium to high tannins, lively acidity, and a long, lingering finish. Smooth and well-balanced.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR:  5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

2005 Saviah Red Mountain Syrah (Red Mountain, WA): Deep ruby red. Black fruits, pepper. Medium tannins, medium finish, a bit hot on the back end.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR:  3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

2006 Saviah Red Mountain Syrah (Red Mountain, WA): Blue fruits, cinnamon, earthy. Crisp acidity, medium to high tannins, and a long finish. Good structure, smooth, well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR:  4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

2007 Saviah Red Mountain Syrah (Red Mountain, WA): Deep ruby/purple. Blackberry, black cherry, medium to high tannins, and a long, lingering finish. I think this one will develop really well over time.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR:  5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Will be released in September (~$30)


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

Reader's Comments

  1. Ashley Lauren | July 14th, 2009 at 8:53 am

    The 2007 Saviah Red Mountain Syrah sounds particularly tasty. I like your willingness to be patient with a wine that has potential. Nice post.
    Ash

  2. Kori | July 15th, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Thanks, Ashley. Cheers!

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