Delicious Northwest Syrahs

By on November 2, 2014
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Red Willow Vineyard planted the first Syrah in Washington state.

This wall holds old signs from Red Willow Vineyard, including the original sign indicating the 1986 block of Syrah – a first in Washington state. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

Syrah, the noble grape of the Northern Rhône Valley – and a key component in Southern Rhône blends – came to Washington in the mid-1980s, when grape grower Mike Sauer and winemaker David Lake came together to plant it at Red Willow Vineyard in the west end of the Yakima Valley.

After Syrah came through the 1996 freeze in Washington’s Columbia Valley, plantings began to skyrocket. Today, more than 15,000 tons of Syrah are harvested each year, making it Washington’s No. 3 red grape variety after Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Southern Oregon, which is much warmer than the Willamette Valley to the north, also is becoming a haven for Syrah, as are the high-altitude vineyards of Idaho’s Snake River Valley.

Here are nine Northwest Syrahs we’ve tasted in recent weeks.

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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