Saturday, November 14, 2009
GORDON BROTHERS SYRAH 2005
One of the highlights of my trip out to Washington State last month was visiting the amazing Gordon Brothers winery near Pasco, WA. Their estate sits atop a hillside overlooking the Snake River, which was pretty breathtaking midday, with the vineyards interspersed amidst a sea of wheat-colored landscapes, and underneath a brilliant blue sky. It's enough to make me doughy-eyed just thinking about it.
Walking around with winemaker Tim Henley, we got a great sense of the land, and were made instantly aware of the fact that their wines are entirely from their own vineyards. Even though we strolled through some Malbec vines, the real star of the show at Gordon Bros. is Syrah, which we sampled out of bottle, barrel and tank.
The Gordon Bros. Syrah 2005 is a remarkable example of how Washington State is really getting this grape right, avoiding the easier Aussie comparatives by holding up the Syrahs of the Northern Rhone as the compass to guide them. Present is a deep, dark ruby-purple color, heady aromas of black cherries, blueberries, clove and cinnamon, and on the palate, a luxurious berry base with elements of cedar, leather, black and white pepper, fresh brewed espresso and spice box crescendoing into an enduring finish.
This certainly ranks up there amongst the best American Syrahs, and indeed their 2002 vintage received the International Trophy for Rhone wines over $10 from Decanter Magazine, beating out some of the Northern Rhone's best reds. This newest vintage is one of which the Gordon family and winemaker Tim Henley can be extremely proud. And I have to say that the upcoming releases for this wine are going to be even more incredible.