Wine Blogging Wednesday #63: Find Your Muse

By Kori ~ November 18th, 2009.

Wines sacked up and decantedOur host for the November edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphere’s monthly virtual wine tasting event, is Rob Bralow of Wine Post. He selected Find Your Muse as this month’s theme. While giving us lots of room to maneuver in “finding our muse,” he did lay down a few guidelines which included choosing a wine we’ve either enjoyed many times but never written about or a wine we’ve been meaning to try…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 Cellars’ 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 Mom’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 Rob’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 ½ year old who did not want to nap, I easily exceeded two hours from start to finish.

2007 Kerloo Cellars Les Collines Syrah and 2007 Syncline SyrahKerloo 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. Syncline’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

Reader's Comments

  1. Melinda | November 18th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I enjoyed your notes for WBW. I will have to check out Kerloo when I get a chance. Regarding glass enclosures, I had a bottle of Low Man Red from Northwest Totem Cellars that had a glass enclosure. According to their website they have gone to glass on all their red wines.

  2. Carlene Gutowsky | November 18th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    All You Need Is Wine is the prefect party game to entertain your guests, and makes a great gift. It is a blind wine tasting party game. Check it out at

  3. Kori | November 18th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks for the info on Northwest Totem Cellars. I’m glad to see other wineries giving glass closures a try. Cheers!

  4. Chris | November 23rd, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Kori, We visited Syncline on Saturday for the first time. They were not tasting any Syrahs that day, but I greatly enjoyed and purchased some of their Cuvee Elena. Have you tried that one?

    Also we discussed their closures with the tasting room lady and she indicated it was for quality and sustainability reasons. Both good enough for me.

    They also have gone to some concrete tanks for fermenting and aging wines. That’ll be interesting to see if it catches on.

  5. Rob | November 27th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for participating! Here’s the recap:

  6. Kori | November 27th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t believe I’ve tried the Cuvee Elena. I’ll have to check it out sometime. Glad to hear you asked about their closures. I personally really like the glass closures. They are beneficial for the reasons that the lady at Syncline told you and provide a little more “pop” than screwcaps.

    Thanks again for hosting and for sharing the recap link.