2012 For A Song Syrah

Hello friends. Today we have the new vintage of the wine that forced us to move warehouses.

Just kidding about that whole moving warehouses thing. (Sort of).

The 2009 vintage of For A Song Syrah was our most popular wine of 2012. We first offered it in October of that year, followed by a reoffer in December and a last-call reoffer in January. And our list members went crazy for it each and every time. Enough so that loading it in and out of our lovely little warehouse became problematic in a way that led me to seek out real estate brokers.

Because it has been ten months since we offered For A Song Syrah, I’m thinking some reminders about the project are in order.

For A Song grew like a sapling out of the ashes of the dearly-departed Olsen Estates winery. The Olsen family had been growing grapes in the Yakima Valley for 40 years when, in 2006, they decided to launch a winery to feature their fruit and build the brand of the vineyard. That winery, which crushed grapes only through the 2009 harvest, was terrific, and the wines produced never lacked for positive reviews. The problem was never with grapegrowing or winemaking; it was always with selling. Entering a competitive market, in a recession, without a distributor, proved too great a challenge to overcome.

When Olsen Estates went out of business, all their juice, in bottle and barrel, was purchased by their distributor (Vinum), who created the For A Song label as a house brand to find happy homes for all that quality juice. Since then, the project has been such a runaway success that Vinum has kept the band together. They have Kyle Johnson, the former winemaker at Olsen Estates, making the wines. Because of that connection, they still source beautiful Olsen Vineyard fruit (while the winery went out of business, the vineyard operations have continued uninterrupted, and there’s no denying that the winery project did indeed raise the profile of the vineyard, which sells fruit to Gramercy, Betz, and Maison Bleue, just to name a few).

There was no 2010 or 2011 For A Song Syrah. They skipped the two cool years and are back with the more normal 2012 vintage. This has just been released, and I don’t want to waste any time. I know the 09 vintage had gained quite a bit of popularity around town, showing up on myriad restaurant lists as a lovely glass-pour option, and I’m sure there’s pent up demand.

This is 100% Syrah, a blend of about a quarter from Olsen, the remainder from Weinbau Vineyard (a terrific Sagemoor site). It spent about a year in barrel, of which 20% were second-fill and 80% third-fill. So no new oak, but not exactly neutral oak either. Aromatically, this did remind me of the 09 vintage, and the sensory marker for me was the lovely white-flower topnotes above a core of good Yakima Valley blueberry and boysenberry fruit. In the mouth, this has a strong palate-staining character for the tariff, the intense fruit lifted by floral notes and complemented by lashings of espresso and insistent mineral streaks. Ripe, balanced, delicious, this is a juicy little baby now. It’s already quite nice, but I’d give it a few more months in bottle (or a couple hours in a decanter) to show its best right now.

Winter wedding planners, holiday party planners: this is a fine candidate. First come first served up to 60 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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