By Kori ~ November 18th, 2009.
Our host for the November edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphereâ€™s monthly virtual wine tasting event, is Rob Bralow of Wine Post. He selected Find Your Muse as this monthâ€™s theme. While giving us lots of room to maneuver in â€œfinding our muse,â€ he did lay down a few guidelines which included choosing a wine weâ€™ve either enjoyed many times but never written about or a wine weâ€™ve been meaning to tryâ€¦and no samples. Oh, and he asked us to time how long we enjoyed the wine and then take twice that amount of time to write the post.
In typical Wine Peeps fashion, we decided to blind taste two wines for this Wine Blogging Wednesday. We chose the 2007 Kerloo Cellars Les Collines Syrah and the 2007 Syncline Syrah, both Washington State wines. The 2007 Les Collines Syrah is one of Kerloo Cellarsâ€™ inaugural releases. We always enjoy trying new Washington producers so we were anxious to give Kerloo a try when we saw this limited production wine offered by Full Pull Wines. We decided to taste it against another 2007 Syrah from Washington State, one that was from a producer, Syncline, whose wines we have enjoyed in the past.
Both wines paired well with Momâ€™s dinner of chili-chipotle roast with potatoes and carrots, seasoned French cut beans, and southern-style biscuits. All four of us Wine Peeps liked them both but we all preferred the Kerloo over the Syncline. It was more complex and better balanced.
Since we tasted these wines with dinner, we enjoyed them for just under an hour, 56 minutes to be exact. Given Robâ€™s formula, that meant that I was supposed to take 112 minutes, almost two hours, to write this post. Given the fact that I did some reading about both wineries as well as was interrupted (as I usually am during my writing) by the buzz of the clothes dryer, phone calls, and the whimpers of a 2 Â½ year old who did not want to nap, I easily exceeded two hours from start to finish.
Kerloo Cellars, located in Walla Walla, Washington, is owned by Ryan and Renee Crane. Ryan and Renee relocated from Seattle to Walla Walla to pursue their winemaking dream. Ryan is also the assistant winemaker at Va Piano Vineyards. His experience and contacts in the industry have helped him secure some prized vineyard sources and to hit the ground running with his inaugural vintage from his own winery. Kerloo Cellars is definitely a winery to watch.
Syncline Wine Cellars, founded by James and Poppie Mantone in 1999, is located in southern Washington in the Columbia Gorge AVA. After trying a number of varietals, the Mantones have decided to focus their efforts on Rhone varietals. Synclineâ€™s annual production is just under 3,000 cases. We have found Syncline to be a consistent producer of high quality and excellent QPR wines. And, on a side note, their wines are sealed with a glass closure instead of the traditional cork, the only Washington winery that we are aware of that has switched exclusively to glass closures.
2007 Kerloo Cellars Les Collines Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Deep, dark purple and very aromatic. Blackberry, black cherry, plum, and spice come through on the nose; more blackberry, plum, as well as leather on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium to high tannins and good acidity. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, WA), $28.79
2007 Syncline Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dense, inky purple. Earth and chalk dust aromas lead to earth, medicinal, and dark fruit flavors. Medium to full-bodied with harsh tannins and a long finish. Not as well balanced as the Kerloo but improves with food and the longer it is open.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, WA), $22; MadWine (Seattle, WA), $23.99
Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Blogging Wednesday, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25