2006 Castle Rock Columbia Valley Syrah

SKU #1050386

Voted one of the "Top 100 Best Buys of 2008" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine: "Somehow, this California winery manages to put out the best budget Syrah in all of Washington State. Pure varietal, this excellent bottle brings clean berry fruit, natural acids and moderate tannins into play, with none of the bizarrely sweet vanilla and tobacco flavors that typically show up on Yellowtail wannabes. This wine just wants to be what it is--affordable, juicy and nicely representative of the higher acid, food-ready flavors of Washington state grapes." (12/31/2008) The Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine called the Castle Rock Syrah a "Good Value," writing: "The folks at Castle Rock have done it again in providing a deep and impressively filled wine at an altogether extraordinary price, and, if a touch quiet in terms of varietal spice, its combination of continuous berry-like fruit, sweet oak and real palatal polish makes it a remarkable value that should not be missed. Its easy manner invites drinking now, yet it will not be harmed in the least by a bit of age should you choose to buy it by case." (07/09) The thing that first tipped me off to the fact that this could be a special value was the nose, full of fennel, black peppercorn and fried sage this really struck me as being a very varietally correct Syrah. That honesty is echoed on the palate with a continuation of the spice notes and a big layer of tangy boysenberry fruit that is simply delicious. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $6.99
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Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/9/2009 | Send Email
The world is awash with cheap tasting Syrah, much of which is labeled Shiraz and, unfortunately, not as cheap as it tastes. This is not part of that great lake of red, but rather a rare breed of inexpensive, honest, delightful wine. With flavors of pepper and blueberry and a touch of round ripeness, I think that you will be surprised at how far $6.99 takes you with this bottle. Thank you Castle Rock! You have delivered value to the table!
Top Value!

Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/8/2009 | Send Email
This is going to go down as one of the great bargain wines in our store's history. Two years from now people are going to be saying, "Jeez, that '06 Castle Rock Syrah was such a ridiculous deal." It is a juicy, blue-fruited, peppery and smoky Syrah that brings to mind young, drinkable Northern Rhone wines. It could be $15 or even $20 dollars and I would recommend it. But it isn't: it is freakin' $6.99. Crazy, absolutely crazy.

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.