Chateau Ste Michelle 2011 Syrah, Columbia Valley, $14
Best Buy! The Wahluke Slope has become a sweet spot for Washington Syrah, and Bob Bertheau’s team relied heavily on this appellation for what some might label as a GSM blend with its components of Syrah (94%), Viognier (3%), Mourvèdre (2%) and Grenache. The fruit-filled nose features blackberry, blueberry, cola, vanilla, alder smoke and moist tobacco. It’s stunning in the mouth with dark purple fruit amid a texture so dense it’s almost syrupy. And yet there’s ripe blueberry acidity and rewarding tannins for balance, capped by a touch of maple. Suggested pairings include herb-influenced beef dishes, pungent cheeses and grilled salmon.
Production: 25,000 cases