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  • Writer's pictureToronto Vintners Club

Washington Southern Rhône-Style Reds

Our guest speaker was Tim Reed Manessy of The Living Vine Inc., which specializes in importing organic biodynamic natural wines.

The Wines

2013 Betz Family Winery La Cote Rousse Syrah, Red Mountain $70 “Much more mineral driven than the La Serenne release, the 2013 Syrah la Cote Rousse comes all from Red Mountain and is always 100% Syrah. Like the other Syrahs here, it saw 11 months in barrel and won't be released until the fall of 2015. Exhibiting lots of blackberry, black raspberry, graphite, smoke and crushed rock, it's beautifully concentrated, has top-notch purity of fruit and a great finish. I love its mid-palate density, and while it has a lot of tannins, they're nicely integrated into the body of the wine. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2033. It should be one of the longestlived Syrahs in the vintage.” Jeb Dunnuck, 95 Pts. 2014 Tenet The Pundit Syrah, Columbia Valley $40 “The finest vintage of this cuvee to date (it’s only the second year for the cuvee though), the 2014 Syrah The Pundit has loads of ripe dark fruits, charcoal, smoked herbs and licorice in a concentrated, rich, yet always balanced and fresh style. Made from 88% Syrah, 6% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre, aged mostly in French oak (which is a positive change from the American oak used for the 2013), with a small part in concrete, drink this pleasure-bent effort over the coming 4-5 years. Jeb Dunnuck, 92 Pts. 2014 Palencia Winery Syrah, Yakima Valley $58 “Alluring aromas of blackberry and barrel spice lead to ripe, full-bodied black-fruit flavors, showing beautiful depth and a long finish. It packs a hefty punch while never losing its sense of balance.” Sean P. Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast. 92 Pts. 1997 McCrea Cellars Syrah ($ Not Avail.) “Bright ruby-red. Clean cassis and spice aromas enhanced by sexy oak notes. Sappy and fruit-driven, with bright acids and restrained sweetness. Expands nicely and builds slowly on the ripe, persistent finish.” Stephen Tanzer. 88 Pts. 2014 K Vintners The Hidden Syrah, Wahluke Slope $109 “I continue to feel that this is one of the top Syrahs coming out Washington today, and it certainly doesn't get the notoriety it deserves. . . . This deep ruby/purple tinged effort offers a sensational, deep, rich and concentrated style that closes down quickly in the glass. Black cherries, wet earth, lavender and incense characteristics dominate the bouquet, and it has a core of sweet fruit, ripe tannin and a blockbuster finish. Give bottles 2-4 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following decade or more. Jeb Dunnuck 99 Pts. 2011 Force Majeure Vineyards Collaboration Series VI, Red Mountain $60 “A blend of 47% Mourvèdre, 42% Syrah and 11% Grenache; made by James Mantone, winemaker for Syncline): Full red-ruby. Distinct Mourvedre aspect to the aromas of black cherry, blueberry, licorice, leather and Serrano ham. Sweet and concentrated on entry, then tightly coiled in the middle, boasting terrific verve and energy to the dark fruit and spice flavors. Most impressive today for its energy and spicy length, this wine should unfold gracefully over the next five to seven years. A very good job of timing the harvest here!” Stephen Tanzer. 92+ Pts 2012 Rasa Vineyards Tilting at Windmills, Walla Walla $100 “Grenache-dominated, yet incorporating 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, the 2012 Tilting At Windmills is also rock star stuff. Decadently styled, with creme de cassis, melted licorice, road tar and spice, this full-bodied effort has superb mid-palate depth, an unctuous texture and sweet tannin that coats the palate on the finish. It’s impressive and will have a decade or more of longevity.” Jeb Dunnuck, 95 Pts 2014 Tenet GSM, Columbia Valley $99 Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blend. “Bright ruby-red. Distinctly reduced aromas of crushed raspberry and musky mocha, plus a leathery nuance. Impressively concentrated and dense, conveying a crushed-berry urgency complicated by game and coffee notes. Finishes ripe and long, with firm tannins. This plush, sweet big boy needs time but has the material and structure to gain in complexity with bottle aging.” Stephen Tanzer. 91 Pts

How the wines were ranked

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