Drink: Syrah from Walla Walla

Posted: January 13, 2013

America's destiny for the Rhône's famous red grape will ultimately be crafting wines that land between the earthy French version known as "syrah" and the luscious Aussie fruit bomb dubbed "shiraz."

The perfect compromise should probably be called "sy-raz," although I'm sure the great winemakers of Washington State would object. They stick with the classic label of syrah, and since these tend to be my favorite domestic renditions, they've earned the right.

Even so, a great bottle like this 2006 Cougar Crest Reserve from Walla Walla, steeply discounted in Pennsylvania issue from $55 to $24.99, shows its true hybrid personality in the glass - in the very best way.

The fruit is New World ripe, brooding, figgy, round, and deep. But then echoes of the Rhône kick in, with smoke, tobacco, anise, black olives, and firm-yet-polished tannins ideal for Provençal-roast lamb, or some good old Yankee barbecue.

- Craig LaBan

Cougar Crest Syrah Reserve 2006, $24.99 (code 33061), in select Pennsylvania State Stores.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|