How can two Syrahs from the same vineyard taste wildly different? This question has been on my mind since a recent tasting of two Syrahs from Boushey Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, each vastly distinct from the other yet equally delectable. Read on for more insight about the winemaking behind these fantastic wines, quotes from the winemakers, and tasty pairing recommendations.
Sample bottles were graciously provided by the wineries, Damsel Cellars and Two Vintners.
The Two Syrahs from Boushey Vineyard
Beyond the grape and the vineyard name, the similarities for the most part end. Although grapes for these wines grew up on vines across the road from one other, each has a unique personality. Is it due to that concept of terroir? Winemaker Morgan Lee proclaims that Syrah absorbs its sense of place, even at such a short distance. Or, perhaps it’s a reflection of each winemaker’s style. Long story short, when it comes to flavor profiles, WOW is there a contrast between these wines!
“If you’re at all artistic or creative, Syrah will go there with you.” ~ Mari Womack on working with Syrah
Winemaker: Mari Womack
Winemaking: approximately 25% whole cluster fermentation, the rest destemmed and additional stems added (the stems were actually cut by hand using little scissors!). Innoculated with Rockpile yeast, a commercial cultivated yeast. Aged in once used and neutral barrels.
This seductive wine greeted me with a delightful perfumed nose. The flavor profile offered vibrant plum and brambly notes, reminiscent of summer at the farmers market. Cravings for foods imbued with herbs de Provence followed. What an absolutely lovely wine!
Mari likes pairing this Syrah with mushroom risotto, briney olives (yes, please!), braised pork dishes, or barbecue.
2018 The Waiting List Syrah (because there’s a wait list to get Boushey fruit)
Winemaker: Morgan Lee
Winemaking: 70% whole cluster fermentation. All native yeast. Aged in approximately 30% new French oak.
My tasting notes begin with, “Boom!” This wine offered a captivating smoky undertone with a lot of richness countered by a cherry coke/Jolly Rancher fruitiness. It’s a sensational Syrah.
“It’s not easy to make Cabernet Sauvignon that interesting.” ~ Morgan Lee
If you’re participating in the Washington Syrah Challenge, get geeky and try this approach with two Syrahs from the same vineyard but different producers!
This conversation took place online in conjunction with the Auction of Washington Wines. In case you missed it on social media, I’m honored to partner with the AWW this year as an Ambassador of Washington Wine. Check out the fun events they have planned!