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Nine Hats Syrah 09


Winery:
Nine Hats Wines


$25.95 Regular

$23.36
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Review:

Nine Hats is the "good value" second label of Washington State's Long Shadows Collection, a group of nine internationally famous winemakers, each creating one Washington wine in their own, iconic style.

Nine Hats wines are made from the fruit that doesn't fit into the Long Shadows Collection. The grape sources are impeccable, famous vineyards, and the winemaker is Giles Nicault, who supervises the Long Shadows facility in Walla Walla and makes their Chester Kidder wines.

I am Such a Pinot noir Snob

"A "Friends of Avalon" Story
By Mika Miyamoto-Shemali

Wine Reviewed:
Nine Hats Syrah 08

Even though I am such a Pinot Noir snob, sometimes, I have to get away from it to try something different - a different varietal, perhaps? My rule is simple. Some wines pair well with certain food: Cabernet Sauvignon with steak. Gewurztraminer with Chinese, Riesling with Japanese, bubbles for appetizers, and nothing seems to complement a picnic better than a Rosé. Some wines are heavenly sipping wines that you can enjoy on their own. Then, you have your multi-tasking wines that can cover both categories.

The 2008 Nine Hats Syrah from Columbia Valley comes with a catchy label featuring eight black hats and one red hat. This wine was made from a blend of leftover barrels from nine different wine makers – I wonder if the red hat represents the lone female winemaker. Anyway, the concept is definitely interesting.

I opened the bottle. I wonder what category of wine this will be….

Pour in the glass – beautiful dark inky garnet color.

Swirl and sniff - First impression was "Wow, this will be big… a bowl of dark fruit with a spicy overtone of anise and licorice.

First sip – hmmm, it's a little bit on the hot side. Well, the bottle said 14.5% alcohol. No wonder. Now the taste progressed to salty licorice, black pepper and dark chocolate covered bing cherries. But behind these notes, the wine felt as if it had more to reveal, perhaps it needs a touch more air?

Then I thought, "Ok….maybe the right food might cajole that back chorus to sing loudly." Initially, I thought the dinner I had bought earlier from the market, rotisserie chicken and salad, might not go with this wine. Do I need to go back and buy some beef and whip up some of my famously spicy steak? Since I didn't feel like going back to the market and cooking, I decided to have this Syrah with my simple chicken and salad dinner.

While I was setting up the table and tossing the salad, I kept sipping the wine in the glass. With every sip, the nose became louder and louder with the fruit and flowers. The taste too became more symphonic and well orchestrated. Within 15 minutes, Nine Hats Syrah had opened up to a wine loaded with dark fruits – tastes of blueberries, blackberries and dark cherries. The salty licorice flavor, although still there, toned down a touch and actually provided a complement to the sweet fruit flavors - almost like dark chocolate with sea salt.

As it turned out, the wine turned a simple chicken dinner into a bodacious, delicious dish as it hit my palate with yummy spices. My simple green salad with aged 30-year old Italian balsamic vinegar and Greek olive oil perfectly danced with the heavy fruit notes of this Syrah. What a pleasant surprise!

Even more surprising, the wine still tasted excellent a few days later – both as a sipping wine and as a great accompaniment with food.

What more can you ask for around $25 a bottle? It certainly amazed me with the quality it delivered in a bottle. At this price range, I am happy to have a wine that can speak to me. In this case, I had an entirely engaging conversation. I will definitely keep this as my house wine for Syrah.

- Mika

The Nine Hats Syrah is the value wine made with wine that didn't go into Sequel.

Nine Hats is the "good value" second label of Washington State's Long Shadows Collection, a group of nine internationally famous winemakers, each creating one Washington wine in their own, iconic style.

Nine Hats wines are made from the fruit that doesn't fit into the Long Shadows Collection. The grape sources are impeccable, famous vineyards, and the winemaker is Giles Nicault, who supervises the Long Shadows facility in Walla Walla and makes their Chester Kidder wines.

About Long Shadows

Long Shadows founder Allen Shoup sought out the best winemakers in the world, persuading them to join his Long Shadows Collection. Their task? To make one wine, in their own iconic style, from Washington State grapes. The winemakers fly in from Australia, Italy, France, California, Germany, etc. to work with the vineyards and supervise the winemaking.

The wines are the Folonari's Saggi, John Duval's Sequel Syrah, Michel Rolland's Pedestal Merlot, Philippe Melka and Agustin Huneeus' Pirouette, Armin Diel's Poet's Leap Riesling, Randy Dunn's Feather Cabernet Sauvignon, and Long Shadow's own Chester Kidder Red, made by Giles Nicault.

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