Saturday, November 23, 2013

Washington State Syrah Smackdown

The pro road cyclists are on vacation for the next couple of months.  While the pros relax I'm picking up my Seattle Urban Wineries vs. Lake Chelan intra-state rivalry series.

This week's match features Eight Bells 2009 Yakima Valley Syrah representing Seattle and Nefarious 2009 Defiance Estate Syrah defending the honor of Lake Chelan.

Eight Bells 2009 Yakima Valley Syrah v. Nefarious 2009 Defiance Syrah

Tale of the Tape

Eight Bells 2009 Yakima Valley Syrah

85% Syrah from Red Willow Vineyard and 15% Grenache from the Red Mountain AVA

Purchased at the winery for $25

Nefarious 2009 Defiance Estate Syrah

100% Estate Grown Syrah from the Defiance Vineyard on the South shores of Lake Chelan.

Purchased for $24 at the winery.

Round 1.  First opening

The bell rings and Eight Bells is storming the ring.  The nose is showing dusty dark fruit, earthy smoke and candle wax.  The palate is rich with dark fruit, smoke, roasted meats and cracked pepper with a dark spicy finish.

Nefarious is a counter attacking with a devious twist.  The nose has plenty of dark fruit, menthol spices and some hints of lavender.  The palate is dark and juicy with tart dark fruit, light spices and a finish of sweet and tart menthol spices.

Eight bells came out smoking and took the fight straight at the Nefarious Cellars Luchador.  This round was close, but Eight Bells takes the points and the lead.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

Eight Bells is full of confidence, strutting into the ring for round 2.   The nose continues to show dark fruit, menthol and anise spices with some floral white pepper.  The palate is a bit lighter with medium dark fruit, tart cracked pepper and a spicy sweet pepper finish.

Nefarious is flashing some speed and agility with a nose of dark stony fruit, menthol spices and floral hints of lavender.  The palate is showing its dark side with dark fruit and dry cedar spices finishing off with a tart slightly tannic finish.

Nefarious battled back with precision quickness to take round two and even things up.

Round 3.  One day after opening

This is it.  The final round will decide the winner of this cross state Syrah Slugfest.

Eight Bells has bulked up between rounds.  The nose is featuring dusty dark fruit, plum, smoke and dusty cedar menthol spices.  The palate has bulked up too with dark fruit, tart cracked pepper and some light coffee bean notes.  There is plenty of stamina with a finish of dark black cherry, cola and hints of cocoa powder.

Nefarious isn't fazed by the Eight Bells brawn.  Going on the attack, Nefarious sweeps the legs and takes down the Eight Bells Luchador with some improvised kung fu.  The nose is still robust with dark fruit, raspberries and a touch of funky spices.  The palate is popping with tart dark berries and cedar spices that flow on to a similar finish of tart spices.

Despite the take down, Eight Bells rises to the challenge and takes the final round for a hard fought victory.

Wrap up and overall observations

This match was very close with the Eight Bells luchador narrowly squeaking out the victory.  Syrah is continuing to build a reputation in Washington state and both of these wines are showing why.

The Nefarious Defiance estate vineyard is located on the South side of Lake Chelan.  This side of the lake is considered to be slightly cooler than the North side.  This Syrah shows some nice cool climate Syrah character.  The wine is well balanced and drinking real nice right now.

The Eight Bells Syrah includes 15% Grenache.  Weighing in with 85% Syrah, this wine is well over the limit for carrying the Syrah mantle.  The Syrah grapes come from Red Willow which is one of the top vineyards in Washington.  It is located at the far Western edge of the Yakima Valley AVA.  The Yakima Valley is also known for producing grapes that display character associated with cooler climates.

Both of these wines are tasting great right now.  If you get a chance you should seek them out.

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