Syrah leads Northwest’s Rhône revolution

By on September 11, 2016

Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Umiker Vineyard Estate Syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley, $28

clearwater-canyon-cellars-umiker-vineyard-syrah-2014-bottleThe pride and joy of Karl and Coco Umiker’s program is their vineyard within the Lewiston (Idaho) Orchards. It’s a 6.5-acre planting in the historic Lewis-Clark Valley, and they established it at 1,350 feet elevation in 2003 on their family’s century farm. The Umikers rely on American oak for much of their winemaking, including their Syrah, choosing 30% new barrels for 17 months of aging. Aromas of vanilla bean, blueberry and black currant pick up hints of grilled sausage and light toast. It’s not a syrupy style of Syrah. Instead, it’s a more of a cool-climate expression with blueberry pie and cherry flavors backed by vibrant pomegranate acidity. Balanced tannins and a pinch of lavender lead to a lingering dark raspberry finish. Suggested pairings include gamy meats, lentils and dishes featuring fresh herbs.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 187 cases

Alcohol: 14.8%

Winery website

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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