Owen Roe's Washington State Syrahs
Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher published their Dow Jones Washington Syrah Index last Saturday.
The Wall Street Journal lauded Washington Syrah:
"As a group, these are the most exciting red wines being made in America today.....we were, quite simply, blown away. When these wines got it right, they were intense experiences, with purple-black color; massive, tightly wound fruit; hints of all kinds of herbs; great acidity; a dark core of fruit that, more than once, made us think of crushed coal; and a genuine sense of excitement. While they obviously had something in common with the Syrah-based wines of the Rhone, they were different, with more of a sense of stretching and yearning."
"Comparing a huge American wine to elegant first-growth Bordeaux is high and unusual praise indeed. It turned out that No. 1 was from Owen Roe, an Oregon-based winery that also makes excellent Pinot Noir, and No. 2 -- which we rated a rare Delicious! -- was once again Dunham Cellars, this time the 2004 (the winery said it made 1,686 cases that were distributed in 20 states, plus Tokyo and Ontario). David O'Reilly, the co-owner and winemaker at Owen Roe, says his wine is made "from very low-yielding vineyards in the Columbia Valley with sparse, rocky soils. That explains why the wine has both density and acidity." Density and acidity -- that seems to us like a pretty apt description of many of these wines."
at right, David O'Reilly (top) and Jerry Owen at Owen Roe Winery
The Wall Street Journal's title for this article was "Brawny yet refined, Syrahs from Washington State bring back the 'wow' that Zinfandel used to pack". Comparing Washington's Syrahs to the California Zinfandels they used to love (and apparently do not like so much today), they said: "We really have missed those shout-out-loud Zins of our youth. We never imagined that we'd rediscover the excitement, the verve, the American-ness of those wines where we did: in Syrahs from Washington."
In concluding their article, Drothy Gaiter summed it up: "Washington Syrah because there are so many different styles, though the best had much in common. At the end of the tasting, Dottie summed it all up like this: "The ones that get it right are sleek and graceful despite their size. The ones that don't are vulgar and coarse and muddled. But it's exciting. There's a sense of exploration. I feel like I'm on a journey of exploration with them."
Owen Roe WInery Dominates Wall Street Journal's
Dow Jones Washington Syrah Index
2005 vintage Wine Spec TOP 100,
2006 vintage Wall Street Journal Top Pick for Washington Syrah
The best Ex Umbris Syrah yet. Gobs of Marionberries and black raspberries are interspersed with licorice, milk chocolate, and coffee. A superbly rich, supple texture helps carry lingering sweet fruit, violets, and white pepper through the finish.
Owen Roe Syrah and Syrah Blend
Owen Roe's Ex Umbris Syrah 06 was one of the Wall Street Journal's recommended Syrahs. Although it is sold out, two related, excellent Owen Roe wines are available. The Lady Rosa Syrah is Owen Roe's finest Syrah. Owen Roe's Sinister Hand is Owen Roe's tribute to the wines of the Southern Rhone. Sinister Hand is a blend of 62% Grenache, 21% Syrah,and 16% Mourvedre.
Owen Roe's finest Syrah. Owen Roe Lady Rosa Syrah 07 has totally lush scents of candied violets, sweet blackberries, and bacon fat wafting from the glass. Super juicy yet sweet blackberries mingle with hints of clove, anise, and ginseng on the complex finish. The Lady Rosa 07 marries fantastic density of fruit with brightness from the acidity. Remarkable balance for such a big wine - expect it to age gracefully.
Owen Roe's Sinister Hand 2007 is rich and full-bodied. Dark purple in color, with a nose of sweet spice box and white pepper, the wine coats the palate with fresh fruit - sweet red and black cherries, black currant, and blackberries. Smooth and integrated tannins in the finish contain abundant dried cherry, white pepper, cassis, and just a hint of brine and minerals. For 2007, the blend is 62% Grenache, 21% Syrah,and 16% Mourvedre from several Yakima, Washington area vineyards.