Syrah plays big role in Northwest red blends

By on March 12, 2017
Syrah on Red Mountain at EFESTE Vineyard.

Syrah grapes on Red Mountain await to be harvested. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

After Australia flooded the U.S. market with inexpensive and uninteresting Shiraz, Syrah has been a tough sell with consumers.

Yet acreage and tonnage of Syrah continues to increase year after year. Last year, Washington winemakers harvested more than 20,000 tons of the red wine grape for the first time in state history.

There are two main reasons for this.

First of all, Syrah is an early ripening grape. Winemakers can bring it in before Labor Day, have it crushed and begin turning it into wine in their fermentation rooms while other varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre are still hanging on the vine.

Second of all, it’s a delicious blending grape often able to add midpalate heft and weight to a wine without adding to its tannin levels. Winemakers can often bevel out the harsh edges of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with just a bit of Syrah in the blend.

Here are 12 delicious Washington red blends that include Syrah. Ask for them to your favorite wine merchant or contact wineries directly.

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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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