2010 Waters Tremolo Syrah

Hello friends. I frequently posit that one of the unique strengths of Pac-NW wines is their ability to bridge old-world and new-world styles. Has that ever been on better display than with the back-to-back 2009 and 2010 vintages?

2009 was a warmer year, and the resulting wines are thoroughly new-world: ripe, rich, delicious, hedonistic. Oregon Pinots could be confused with California, Washington Syrahs with Barossa.

And then came 2010, among the coolest vintages on record, and up and down the northwest, we produced wines that are indistinguishable from their old-world brethren. Oregon Pinots look like Burgundy, and the right Washington Syrahs can look an awful lot like the Northern Rhone:

What would you do if you were Jamie Brown in 2010, and your finest vineyard (that’s my opinion, not his) produced pristine, delicious, physiologically-ripe fruit at Brix that would yield a 12.5% alcohol red? Would you bottle it as Forgotten Hills Vineyard Syrah, when that wine already has an established style that is noticeably riper, and risk brand confusion? Would you sell it on the bulk market or move it into Substance, both moves that would undermine this wine’s undeniable beauty?

Jamie did neither. He chose a middle road.

Tremolo is cool-vintage Forgotten Hills Syrah. It doesn’t say so on the label, but this is 92% Forgotten Hills Syrah, blended with 8% Grenache. In the glass, it looks like Pinot Noir, a pale ruby beauty. If I smelled this in one of my blind tasting groups, if I got those earthy, peppery, mushroomy notes, I would be deciding between Cornas and St. Joseph; my mind certainly wouldn’t be wandering to Washington.

At 12.5% alc, this is certainly lighter-bodied than previous Forgotten Hills bottlings, but not less intense; the palate weight is just carried on a more nervous, tensile frame. This is successful high-wire winemaking, the result a wine with a very Northern-Rhone mouthfeel: fairly austere, structured, lively, savory. The palate carries tremendous energy. It’s a joyful drink, but it’s not for everyone. Lovers of riper fruit should steer clear of this one, but for those of us who love it when Washington plays on the old-world side of the spectrum, this is a wine not to be missed. The tariff is also about $20 lower than the regular Forgotten Hills, which doesn’t hurt. And finally, I would say the real beauty of this wine will only be revealed in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. It drinks like a wine that wants to go the distance.

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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