Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Syrah 2007



By Kori ~ February 17th, 2010.

On Friday evening, we hosted our 80th wine tasting dinner. It was another fabulous evening of good wines, the company of wonderful friends, and Mom’s excellent food. This month’s dinner featured Washington Syrah from the 2007 vintage. I personally believe that the 2007 vintage may ultimately be considered the best ever in Washington State.

All six wines paired perfectly with Mom’s dinner of tomato basil soup, mixed green salad, ribeye steaks, roasted rosemary sweet potatoes, garlic sautéed Swiss chard, and topped off with a German chocolate dessert with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Not only did four of the six wines receive a Quality rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5), but the top three also received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5). Even though these wines are not inexpensive, they are well worth the money.

Once again, a Fielding Hills wine came out on top. Mike Wade, owner/winemaker of Fielding Hills, continues to produce amazing wines, vintage after vintage. You may remember that his 2005 Syrah was our first “Wow!” wine from Washington. We had the pleasure to taste this 2007 Syrah when it was still in the barrel and were very impressed. We thought it was excellent when we tasted it just after it was released in October, but it has definitely improved with more time in the bottle, and I would expect it to continue to improve for a few years.

Bottom line: You can’t go wrong with any of these wines. Washington State produces fabulous Syrah, and the winemakers who made these six wines are among the state’s best.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2007 Fielding Hills Syrah (Riverbend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Dark purple and very aromatic. Peppermint, floral, and raspberry aromas on the nose; more peppermint, mocha, and black and red fruits on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins and a long finish. Well-balanced and smooth.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $40; Available elsewhere, $40 to $43

2007 Owen Roe “Lady Rosa” Syrah (Yakima Valley, Washington): Deep, dark purple. Beautiful bouquet with aromas of black pepper, spice, black fruits, and a hint of green peppers. Black fruits, black pepper, and vegetal flavors come through on the palate as well. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins and a long finish. Well-balanced and smooth.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Compass Wines (Anacortes, Washington), $55; Available elsewhere, $45 to $48

2007 K Vintners Syrah “Pheasant” (Pheasant Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): Deep, dark purple. Very aromatic. Black fruits, milk chocolate, and lemon zest come through on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $35; Cecile’s Wine Cellar (McLean, Virginia), $42

2007 Betz Syrah La Côte Patriarche (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): Deep, dark, almost inky purple. Complex nose with aromas of red fruits, toffee, dirt, and burnt toast. Earthy flavors mingle with blackberry, red fruit, and toast. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $55

2007 Sequel Syrah [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark purple. Nose is a bit tight at first. Aromas of smoke and oak. Black fruit and smoky flavors on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium to high tannins and a long, slightly bitter finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $55

2007 Rotie Cellars Northern Blend (Columbia Valley, Washington): 97% Syrah, 3% Viognier. Dark, purple-red. Blue and black fruit as well as black pepper aromas and flavors. Good fruit up front but trails off a bit in the mid-palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $35


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

Reader's Comments

  1. szymanskiea | February 27th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve really struggled with WA syrahs. Yes, Western WA can ripen this grape to high heaven with it’s long, hot days, but should you do something just because you can? So many examples that I’ve encountered just taste hot and heavy, alcoholic and with all of what can be a beautiful syrah character literally burnt out of them. A little bit like what happens to less-than-top-notch CA pinot noir? And when alcohol levels reach 15.5%, how do you and your two (petite) girlfriends finish the bottle without having a sleepover?
    I haven’t yet tasted the several you rate above, so I don’t know about these, and there are definitely some pleasant exceptions. The Ward Johnson 2007 “End of the Road” Syrah that I tasted last weekend at their winery in the Interbay region of Seattle, for example, had some really lovely blackberry/tobacco/dry leaf notes with a pleasantly acidic finish. I should have my comments on this and the rest of the wines I tasted up on my brand-new infant blog by the end of this weekend:
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/wellredwhiteandrose/
    Thanks as always, WinePeeps, for well-written wine commentaries.

  2. Kori | March 5th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Erika,
    The best examples of WA Syrah are grown in Eastern Washington. I hope you will try some of the wines we tasted above and then let me know what you think. I would be surprised if you still feel the same way after drinking these excellent, beautifully made wines. Congrats on your new blog. Cheers!

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