2009 Southard Syrah

Hello friends.

“[TEXT WITHHELD].”

“TEXT WITHHELD].”

I have been forwarded those two quotes, from Paul Gregutt’s fine blog, with alarming regularity since PaulG’s writeup of Southard in late June. PaulG does a real service to us Washington wine-lovers by unearthing these hidden gems scattered around our state.

It took a few months to source and taste the wines, and they are impressive indeed. We’re starting today with perhaps the most impressive wine in the lineup:

Scott Southard is purchasing grapes here from his cousins, the Lawrences, who farm Lawrence Vineyard on the Royal Slope. Right now, the Royal Slope is part of the greater Columbia Valley AVA, but I’d be shocked if this area does not eventually become its own AVA. As you can see on the map, the Royal Slope is one slope up from the Wahluke Slope, running north-to-south from Frenchman Hills down to Sentinel Mountain.

This may be the buzziest under-the-radar area for Syrah in Washington right now. It contains Stoneridge Vineyard, which Charles Smith uses to make Heart, Skull, Old Bones, and Royal City Syrahs (tariffs ranging from $100-$140), and I’m certain that the success of those bottlings has led to more Syrah vines going into the ground.

Lawrence Vineyard, however, was in the ground well before all that, first planted out in 2003. It is high-elevation Syrah, ranging from 1400’-1600’, and the results, from Scott Southard’s capable hands, are breathtaking. There are floral, citrusy topnotes that I would normally associate with a Viognier coferment, but here I suspect it’s just the extra elevation. Those notes add complexity to an effort already well-stuffed with layers of fruit and meat, earth and olive.

PaulGregutt.com (Paul Gregutt): “($25); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

No Wine Enthusiast review yet from PaulG, so no score; probably a good thing for us. Based on the verbiage, and some reviews of previous vintages, I’d range out a future score at 93-95pts, pretty close to unheard-of for a wine at this tariff. If I’m right, the wine will likely disappear the moment the Enthusiast review is published.

Let’s get in before that happens. First come first served up to 12 bottles, and 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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