Hello friends. I can’t believe we’ve never offered this wine. It’s one of Washington’s pre-eminent Syrahs, and looking back at my archives, I see I even wrote an offer for it way back in 2010, but that offer was never sent (more on that below). Fortunately, circumstances have aligned today that finally allow us to offer this beauty:
Back in 2010, I had written up the 2008 vintage of Chapel Block and had it in the hopper, ready to send. And then…
And then Harvey Steiman (Wine Spectator) released a staggering 97pt review, and the wine disappeared overnight. No surprise that it later landed on Spectator’s Top 100 list for 2010 (coming in at #23), and no surprise that our offer was never sent.
Since the buzz of that year, Chapel Block has been more and more difficult to source, and even today’s offer is not without complications. This comes to us on a time-limited deal. We’ll be placing our Chapel Block order on Monday, so please do try to have all requests in by then. I don’t believe we’ll be able to fulfill any reorder requests, either.
It’s so time-limited, in fact, that I haven’t had a chance to taste this vintage. Given the pedigree of the fruit source and the winemaker, and the consistent beauty of previous vintages, I’m not concerned. This vintage also has a strong recent review from Paul Gregutt:
Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “($55); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
The first commercial Syrah vines in Washington went into the ground at Red Willow in 1986, partly due to the vision of the late Master of Wine and long-time Columbia Winery winemaker David Lake. Given Washington’s ever-burgeoning reputation for Syrah, it’s shocking to realize that the oldest vines in the state are still less than thirty years old. The Red Willow-Columbia Winery partnership persisted for many years, and it has only been very recently that boutique wineries have been able to contract for this amazing fruit.
The site (which had other varieties planted as early as 1973), is farmed by Mike Sauer and is about as far west as you can get in the Yakima Valley (see our vineyard map here). And the Chapel Block is famous for the stone chapel quarried from nearby rocks and constructed onsite in the vineyard. Owen Roe’s label includes a terrific shot of this picturesque, unique location in Washington winemaking. The wine was aged for a year in French oak (35% new) and clocks in at 14.1% listed alc.
Again, please try to get order requests in no later than Monday, and please limit those requests to 12 bottles. We’ll do our best to fulfill all requests, 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.