The Syrah from Desert Aire Vineyard, which is the backbone of this blend, has some of the most expressive fruit flavour in Washington. Deep purple in the glass with subtle aromatics of game, dark berries, lavender and white pepper. On the palate, a beautiful back and forth between supple tannins and bright acidity with notes of lavender, dark cherries, cocoa and spice.
Syrah is grown throughout the world, producing beautifully diverse and interesting wines. Syrah was found to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. The style and flavour profile of Syrah is greatly influenced by the climate in which the grapes are grown. Moderate climates, such as the northern Rhône Valley and parts of the Walla Walla AVA in Washington State, tend to produce medium- to full-bodied wines with medium to high levels of tannins and notes of blackberry, mint and black pepper. In hot climates, Syrah is more consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of licorice, anise and earthy leather.
Columbia Valley was granted AVA status in 1984. Located on the eastern side of Washington, it is the largest AVA in the state, responsible for 99% of total wine production. With its dessert-like conditions (average annual rainfall is only 6-8 inches per year), irrigation is a necessity. The Columbia River, as well as snowmelt from the Cascade Mountains, supplies the region’s water for agriculture. Washington has an interesting dynamic between winemakers and grape growers in that they are often exclusively ‘Makers’ or ‘Growers’. Today, nearly 50% of Barnard Griffin’s fruit is grown on the estate.
The 2017 Syrah is a blend of 3 vineyards: Desert Aire Vineyard (Wahluke Slope); Gunkel Vineyard (Columbia Valley, Eastern Columbia River Gorge); and O’Brien Vineyard (Columbia Valley, Yakima). Barnard Griffin purchases grapes from growers using sustainable farming practices, which is the norm throughout Washington. Despite all the natural benefits in Washington State, very few vineyards are organic and even fewer are biodynamic.
Pumpovers 2-3 times daily; pressed at 1-3% sugar; peak fermentation temperature 29°C followed by full malolactic fermentation. Aged 14 months in European oak barrels and upright ovals.