Wine Tasting Dinner: 2009 Washington Syrah



By Kori ~ May 22nd, 2013.

Washington Syrah compares favorably with the best in the world. Washington Syrah generally falls somewhere in between the jammy Shiraz of Australia and the more austere Syrah of the northern Rhone. It generally has good acidity and tannins. Last Friday, we featured Washington Syrah from the 2009 vintage in our wine tasting dinner. All six wines paired perfectly with Mom’s dinner of tomato basil soup, mixed green salad with blue cheese, pecans, toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries tossed with a green onion, honey, Tabasco vinaigrette dressing, grilled beef tenderloin steaks, rosemary roasted sweet potatoes, asparagus with curry butter, and topped off with a German chocolate dessert topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Four of the six wines received a Quality rating of 4 stars (out of 5).

The 2009 Long Shadows Sequel Syrah came out on top in this outstanding lineup. Founded by Washington wine pioneer Allen Shoup, Long Shadows Vintners is a collection of ultra-premium wineries comprised of internationally acclaimed winemakers from the major wine regions of the world. Each winemaker is a partner in a unique winery dedicated to producing a single Columbia Valley wine representing a “best of type” that reflects the winemaker’s signature style. Sequel is a Syrah made by John Duval, one of the most famous winemakers in Australia and around the world. He is best known for his work with Penfolds Grange, Australia’s most famous wine, and now owns his own John Duval Wines.

Really, 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:

2009 Long Shadows Sequel Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): 99% Syrah and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, dense purple. Gorgeous nose with spice, game, earth, and black fruit aromas. Blackberry, black pepper, game, herbs, and spice come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and high yet smooth tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a very long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Winery, $50; Available elsewhere, $42 to $55

2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III (Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): 100% Syrah. Winemaker Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery. Deep, dark purple. Nice nose with black fruit and cinnamon aromas. Black fruit, black pepper, cinnamon, and a touch of earth come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and high tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a very long finish. Force Majeure winery was previously named Grand Rêve.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $55; Available elsewhere, $55 to $56

2009 Rasa Vineyards QED (Columbia Valley, Washington): 71% Syrah, 14% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre, and 3% Viognier. Deep, dark ruby red. Aromatic with black cherry, cinnamon, and a touch of smoke on the nose. Black cherry, spice, black pepper, and some oak come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, silky tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $50

2009 Betz Family Winery La Côte Patriarche Syrah (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Deep, dark purplish red. Aromatic with black fruit and smoked meat on the nose. Black cherry, blackberry, game, and a hint of earth come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, smooth tannins. Well-balanced with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $55

2009 Fielding Hills Syrah (RiverBend Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington): 94% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with red and black fruit and vanilla aromas. Red and black fruit, vanilla, and cherry cola come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high tannins, and a very long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $38; Available elsewhere, $38 to $46

2009 Maison Bleue Liberté Syrah (Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Deep ruby red. Aromatic with cherry, spice, and vanilla on the nose. Very jammy with Big Red soda, strawberry, and a touch of cedar on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $42; Available elsewhere, $40 to $44


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

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