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Rising Star Syrahs
January 16, 2007
from northwest-wine.com

Three "Indie" wineries you want to know about before word gets out.
Value you get for the price is right up there with the best deals around.

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Dusted Valley VintnersDusted Valley is two guys from Walla Walla whose reds are big, boisterous, balanced, and bountiful. They're from Wisconsin, like Marcus, and recently acquired a vineyard, named for their home state: "Sconni" VIneyard.

Dusted Valley Vintners Stained Tooth Syrah 05 $21.55/$23.95
WOW- the guys from Wisconsin do it again. The wine starts with scents of sweet black cherry and a super intense floral component centering around white flowers like jasmine and gardenia. Flavors are also SUPER intense, with black cherry dominating. There's great acidity, a juicy quality, seamless tannins, and great balance. The 5% Viognier contributes to the amazing floral component. This wine outdoes many Syrahs costing $20 more. -jean

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Bunnell Family CellarBunnell Family Cellar is Ron Bunnell's break from the corporation to the "Indie" life. His years at Chateau Ste Michelle stand him in good stead with this release from his first vintage. Note the WIne Spectator rating.

Bunnell Horse Heaven Hills Syrah 04 $37.76/$41.95
Wine Spectator 92 points: "Winemaker Ron Bunnell, late of Chateau Ste Michelle, makes this dark and spicy red, a juicy mouthful of blackberry, plum, and tar flavors, hinting at rose petal and roasted meat, finishing with a fine grip. This has miles to go. Best from 2008 through 2014." H.S.

Aromas of black fruit and fresh leather, with hints of black pepper. Deliciously juicy and concentrated, the HHH Syrah '04 coats your palate with black cherry and dark plum flavors. There's a good amount of toasty vanilla bean and tannins that provide a nice frame for this massive yet agile wine. An impressive effort from a a name I think we'll be hearing a lot more of.... marcus

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Zerba Cellars SyrahZerba Cellars' owners purchased an apple orchard all the neighbors thought was a real stinker, planted grapes, and proved them wrong. It also helps that their vineyard shares a boundary with Cayuse's Estate vineyard. This is a winery to watch, one whose reasonable prices and juicy, luscious wines stands out from the crowd.

Zerba Columbia Valley Syrah 04 $26.05/$28.95
A Walla Walla winery in Oregon?! You're absolutely right. Situated on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley, Zerba is a rising star. Their estate vineyard was frozen out in 2004, resulting in a Columbia Valley beauty from the Minnick (Willow Crest) Vineyard.

Oh the color--it's captivating from the start. Exotic spice, mixed black fruit preserves,subtle game and white pepper waft from the glass. The body is lush and silky, with candied black cherry and complementary creamy oak. Silky tannins and juicy acidity are woven with a minerality that comes through on the finish, joined by bits of nutmeg, ginseng, black pepper and mandarin-orange infused chocolate. -marcus

Wine Press NW says: " “Excellent!” “Our reigning Oregon Winery to Watch just keeps rolling! This new Syrah is a good one, thanks to aromas of plums, spices, berries and chocolate, followed by rich flavors of berry compote and milk tannins. Well managed tannins allow the fruit to shine while providing structure.” Wine Press Northwest, Fall 2006

Gold Medal, Best of Class, Oregon State Fair 2006.

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