Audience for Syrah grows among Oregon winemakers, growers

By on September 10, 2017
Prev1 of 10Next
Varner-Traul Vineyard in Talent, Ore., is the estate vineyard for Ledger David Cellars. The Rogue Valley site, first planted in 2006, spans 15 acres and includes white varieties Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier as well as Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo.

Varner-Traul Vineyard in Talent, Ore., is the estate vineyard for Ledger David Cellars. The Rogue Valley site, first planted in 2006, spans 15 acres and includes white varieties Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier as well as Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo. (Photo by Marc Salvatore/Courtesy of Ledger David Cellars)

We tend to think of Oregon as Pinot Noir country. Rightly so. The 2016 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report showed more than 45,000 tons of the red Burgundian grape were harvested last year.

Wine lovers might be surprised to learn the No. 2 red grape in Oregon is Syrah, just ahead of Cabernet Sauvignon. We tend to think of Washington when we think of Syrah because the red Rhône grape fits so well in the warm Columbia Valley. But in recent decades, Southern Oregon regions such as the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate valleys have driven greater interest in warm-climate wine grapes. Indeed, in recent years it’s become fashionable for Willamette Valley winemakers to bring Syrah north to craft a jammy, big red that’s an alternative to the ubiquitous Pinot Noir.

Last fall, Oregon winemakers brought in 1,663 tons of Syrah, up 91 tons from the 2015 harvest, primarily from Southern Oregon. Here are a few Oregon Syrahs we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine shop or contact the wineries directly.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-spam measure * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.