Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Syrah 2006 [Wow! Alert]



By Kori ~ December 9th, 2009.

Glasses and tasting sheet for Wine Tasting DinnerEarlier this year, we featured Washington Syrah from the 2005 vintage in one of our monthly wine tasting dinners. As I’ve mentioned previously, many consider the 2005 vintage to be one of the best in the history of Washington State. And I personally believe that the 2007 vintage may ultimately be considered the best ever in Washington State. But before we jump to the 2007’s, many of which have just been recently released, we wanted to do a tasting of the 2006 vintage which has been somewhat forgotten amid the hype about 2005 and 2007.

As one winemaker told us, “In good years like 2005 and 2007, almost anyone can make good wine. It’s the more challenging vintages like 2006 that separate out the great winemakers.”

With that in mind, this tasting proved that Bill Owen (O*S Winery), John Duval (Sequel), Mike Wade (Fielding Hills), Dave Stephenson (Stephenson Cellars), Charles Smith (K Vintners), and Ray Einberger (Columbia Crest) are all great winemakers. This was an extraordinary wine tasting dinner! All six wines were excellent and received a Quality rating of 4 stars (out of 5) or higher and five out of six wines received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Last Friday was an extremely cold winter evening in Seattle, the perfect weather for enjoying big, bold Washington Syrah. All six wines paired perfectly with Mom’s dinner of creamy tomato basil soup, mixed green salad, savory sausage bake, French green beans, garlic toast, and German chocolate dessert.

I am thrilled to report that we discovered another “Wow!” wine: the 2006 O*S Winery Syrah Dineen Vineyard which we rated a rare 5 stars (out of 5). With a $25 price tag, the O*S Syrah is an absolute steal! It was so good that Dad (John) made a trip to O*S on Saturday to pick up a case.

O*S Winery, located in South Seattle, was founded in 1997 by Bill Owen and Rob Sullivan. They produce about 3,000 cases per year. We visited their tasting room during the holidays last year and looking back at my notes reminded me of the high quality of wines they are producing across the board. If you are in the Seattle area, I highly encourage you to visit O*S. In addition to producing excellent wines, they offer a fun, welcoming tasting room experience.

Lineup of Washington Syrahs, 2006 vintageFrom 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2006 O*S Winery Syrah Dineen Vineyard (Yakima Valley, Washington): Dark, dense purple and very aromatic. Black olives, green olives, and a hint of asparagus come through on the nose; more olives and gorgeous black fruits on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with good acidity, medium to high tannins and a long finish. Extremely smooth, well-balanced, and very complex. Just blew me away from the first sip and kept evolving throughout the meal. Wow!
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $25

2006 Sequel Syrah [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark purple and very aromatic. Aromas of vanilla and buttered popcorn lead to flavors of black fruit and spice. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $50; Available elsewhere, $44 to $55

2006 Fielding Hills Syrah Riverbend Vineyard (Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark purple and very aromatic. Fruit-forward with luscious blackberry and black cherry aromas. More black fruits, cherry cobbler, and cocoa dominate the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $40; Avalon Wine (Corvallis, OR), $42.95

2006 Stephenson Cellars Syrah (Washington State): Deep, dark purple and very aromatic. Black fruits come through on the nose; black and red fruits, black pepper, mint, and spice on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with good acidity, and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $27; Available elsewhere, $29 to $33

2006 Charles Smith Wines “Royal City” Syrah Stoneridge Vineyard (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep purple in color. Cinnamon and vegetal aromas lead to black fruit and spice flavors. Medium to full-bodied with medium tannins and a medium finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $80; Available elsewhere, $87 to $150

2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Dark purple and aromatic. Tobacco, oak, and earth come through on the nose; black fruits and a bit medicinal on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and smooth with medium tannins and a long finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $20; Available elsewhere, $20 to $29


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

Reader's Comments

  1. @nectarwine | December 9th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Another informative review – do you upload your content to Cork’d where WA wines could get greatere exposure? Anywhoo – I’m doing a review of a 2007 Syrah from Lone Canary tonight. It should post tomorrow – I hope you check it out.

    Josh @nectarwine (twitter)

  2. Sean Sullivan | December 10th, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I tried the 2006 OS Dineen Syrah at the winery last weekend. Definitely a winner at $25. OS has recently reduced prices for all of their wines. A lot of deals to be had there at the moment.

  3. Kori | December 11th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Josh,
    We don’t upload our content to Cork’d at this time. I’ll be sure to check out your post.

    Sean,
    Glad to hear you enjoyed the 2006 O*S Dineen Syrah too. They do have some great deals going on right now.

    Cheers!

  4. Bean | December 16th, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Kori,
    You might want to forward this post to Faith Hill at Hospice du Rhone. They are getting ready to do part 3 on their Ready, Set, Syrah series on Washington Syrah.
    Bean

  5. Kori | December 16th, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Bean,
    Great suggestion! I just sent an email to Faith with the link. Cheers!

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