Hello friends. We have an opportunity today to access the final parcel of SYZYGY’s 2006 Syrah. The winery has already moved on to the 2007 vintage, and there’s not much of the 2006 left. We will receive one shipment of this wine, and whatever we don’t pluck is likely bound for the SYZYGY library.
I will admit that my state when I arrived at SYZYGY on a Saturday morning in April was one of undercaffeinated grumpiness. Their little house by the airport was my first visit of the day, and I had purposely left time to grab coffee beforehand at the Walla Walla Roastery. Apparently every winemaker and other business owner at the Walla Walla Airport had the same idea, because the line was out the door. I had to abandon my caffeine dreams; good for my palate purity but bad for my mood. Fortunately, Zach Brettler turned out to be human caffeine: a hyperkinetic dervish whose excitement about his winemaking craft and its results was palpable and contagious. Within minutes of listening to Zach talk about SYZYGY, I felt like I had sucked down a triple Americano, and I was ready to face the day.
SYZYGY (pronounced a little like “wizardry”) was bonded back in 2002 as just the 27th winery in the valley. Despite being middle-aged by Walla Walla Valley standards, SYZYGY has flown under the radar to some degree. They are self-distributed and retain the right to be choosy about which restaurants and retailers carry their wines. Their reputation for quality (especially with Syrah) was established early on, and they have a dedicated customer base that seeks out their wines. Of course, the name has always drawn attention. Zach, an astronomy enthusiast, chose the winery name for its description of the harmonious alignment of seemingly disparate bodies; not a bad metaphor for the winemaking process.
(Okay; I feel compelled to interrupt this offering with two fun facts about SYZYGY: 1) it is the second-shortest vowel-less common English word; damn you, “rhythyms”; 2) it is the title of a poorly-received Season 3 episode of The X-Files, where the alignment of certain planets caused people born on January 12, 1979 to go crazy.)
For Zach’s Syrah (always 100% varietal), the alignment takes place among three Walla Walla Valley Vineyards: Les Collines, which brings its trademark savory notes and inner-mouth perfume; Seven Hills, a warmer site that adds rich, lush black fruit; and Morrison Lane, a 1994-planted Syrah wundersite that adds meat and brine. Around harvest time, Zach flits constantly about these three vineyards, tasting grapes and looking for that perfect balance of ripeness and acid.
This is a lovely, seamless combination of these three exceptional sites. The result is meaty, brambly, peppery Syrah: chock full of black fruits, martini olives, smoked meats, and a kick of cayenne. There is purity and freshness here; a wonderful expression of Walla Walla Syrah that received accolades from two publications not known for singing the praises of Washington Syrah.
Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “($33); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93 pts.”
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (Stephen Tanzer): “($36); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91 pts.”
As I mentioned, this is the last shipment coming to western Washington, so this wine will not be available for any reorder requests. First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive within 2-3 weeks, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping.