Syrah leads Northwest’s Rhône revolution

By on September 11, 2016
Idaho wine country is growing.

A vineyard worker harvests Syrah at Williamson Vineyard in the heart of Idaho wine country near Caldwell. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

One of the most fascinating developments in the past 20 years has been the intense interest in red Rhône varieties.

For the most part, these wines include Mourvèdre, Grenache, Counoise, Petite Sirah and a few other varieties. But first in line is Syrah, the noble grape of the northern Rhône Valley.

First planted in Washington 30 years ago, Syrah is now the No. 3 red wine grape in the state (after Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). And despite lower interest in Syrah from consumers the past few years – thanks in no small part to the flood of simple Aussie Shirazes in the market – Washington Syrah continues to gain strength.

And while Washington Syrah dominates the Northwest Rhône scene, other regions also have gotten in on the act. Last year, Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards in Roseburg, Ore., won best New World Syrah at the prestigious Six Nations Wine Challenge in Australia. And in Southern Idaho’s Snake River Valley, Rhône varieties are emerging as perhaps the best grape for the region – led, of course, by Syrah.

Here are a dozen delicious Syrahs we’ve tasted in recent weeks. Ask for them at your favorite wine shop or contact the wineries directly.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles credited to Great Northwest Wine are authored by Eric Degerman and other contributors. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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