By the looks of it, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates can help do for Syrah what it has done with Riesling. Here’s another example of Chateau Ste. Michelle head winemaker Bob Bertheau collaborating with European experts to create a gateway example of a variety that the majority of American consumers aren’t overly familiar with, offer it at an affordable price and produce it on a large scale. In the case of The Pundit, Bertheau teams up with Rhône native Michel Gassier and Phillipe Cambie, who describes himself as “a man of the Mediterranean.” While it is legally Syrah, this wine also showcases the synergy among three other contributing varieties as the Viognier (2%) is co-fermented with the Syrah and blended with Grenache (4%) and Mourvèdre (4%). The influence of new French oak (23%) over 13 months shows with the bittersweet chocolate and toast aromas that include blueberry cobbler and black cherry. There’s a payday on the palate from each of those notes as the dark fruit spills across with pleasing weight. A nice tug of tannin of comes across as a nibble of blackcurrant skin with the juice to match, followed by the underlying gaminess that often comes with Syrah. The Pundit is widely distributed and can be found in some places for a few dollars less that the listed price.
Production: 25,175 cases
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