Hello friends. We have a terrific tariff today on a Walla Walla Valley Syrah from a familiar producer:
Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “($42); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
This is not the Helix line, which sources from vineyards across the greater Columbia Valley. This is from the main Reininger line, which is restricted to vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. In this case, it’s the king and queen of the valley: Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills. Those sites are much better known for Bordeaux varietals, so it’s a treat to taste how Chuck Reininger expresses these stalwart sites through the terroir-prism of Syrah.
Importantly, he uses a grand total of 0% new oak for the Syrah (this is all done in neutral French barrels), so it is unadulterated fruit that we’re tasting here, from the ripe, fleshy 2009 vintage. The alcohol comes in at 14.8%, and this starts out with an expressive nose combining blueberry, grape, hoisin, and some tarry/earthy nuance. After a few hours open, a briny green-olive note emerges that just won’t quit. Savory and wonderful. The palate is a rich mix of plump blackberry/blueberry fruit and savory/briny black olives.
It’s an attractive flavor combination, distinctive from other Walla Walla Syrahs I’ve tasted. It’s also polished, classy winemaking. The texture alone makes it clear that a steady, accomplished hand is at work here. Chuck has been working with these beautiful vineyards for many years, and it shows. 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 spring shipping window.