Two 2010s from Southard

Hello friends. We’re diving back into the Southard portfolio today, as there has been continued enthusiasm over the 2009 Southard Syrah Lawrence Vineyard we offered back in September, and interest in exploring more wines from this insider winery.

You remember the quotes from Paul Gregutt’s blog last June, right? “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

That text ratcheted up the interest level, and subsequent strong reviews from PaulG in Wine Enthusiast didn’t hurt either.

Much of the fruit that Scott Southard is using is coming from his cousins, the Lawrences, who farm Lawrence Vineyard on the Royal Slope (see location here). First planted out in 2003, it is a high-elevation site, ranging from 1400’-1600’. Right now, the Royal Slope is part of the greater Columbia Valley AVA, but this area is likely to become its own AVA at some point. 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 is probably the buzziest under-the-radar area for Rhone varietals in Washington right now (Charles Smith has used fruit from this area to great effect for his Heart, Skull, Old Bones, and Royal City Syrah labels, with tariffs ranging from $100-$140). Despite today’s offerings being labeled as “White Wine” and “Red Wine,” these are all Rhone all the time:

2010 Southard White Wine Columbia Valley

This is about two-thirds Viognier and one-third Roussanne. The Roussanne comes entirely from Lawrence Vineyard, while the Viognier blends Lawrence fruit with StoneTree, Elephant Mountain, and Sugarloaf.

It avoids the trap that many Washington white Rhones fall into: fat, ponderous fruit. Perhaps it’s the big diurnal shifts at high elevation that keeps the acidity high. Perhaps it’s the cool 2010 vintage. No matter, as the end result is the same: a wine that achieves the rare twin feat of richness and vibrancy. Aromatics of peaches-and-cream with lashings of fresh ginger give way to a palate with more peach, almond, spice, and a cooling mineral tone. There’s a nice raw-nuttiness to this from the Roussanne, and a plump generosity to the mouthfeel (14.5% alc). Those of us stuck in a Chardonnay rut should pay special attention here. This is a fine alternative.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($16); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 91pts.”

2010 Southard Red Wine Columbia Valley

No reviews yet for the Red, which is perhaps for the best in terms of our ability to source large quantities. It’s a 55/45 blend of Syrah (from Lawrence Vineyard) and Mourvedre (from Sugarloaf Vineyard), raised entirely in neutral barrels.

Bright red fruit (raspberry, pomegranate) mixes with some earthy mushroom notes on the attractive nose. Despite a listed alcohol of 14.5%, this was not blowsy at all. I’d actually put it on the leaner end of the Washington Rhone spectrum and found it notable for its lovely purity of flavor. Bacon fat, red cherry fruit, smoke, earth, game: it’s all there, a surprising amount of complexity for the tariff. This is vibrant, juicy, delicious; another fine effort from Scott Southard.

First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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