2011 Owen Roe "Ex-Umbris" Columbia Valley Syrah
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(mostly Yakima Valley fruit, from numerous parcels; just 10% new oak): Deep bluish-purple color. Sexy perfume combines boysenberry, black raspberry, kirsch, cocoa powder, coffee and violet. Juicy and light on its feet; more savory than sweet, boasting excellent floral lift to its sharply defined dark berry, spice and licorice flavors. The loess soils included in this blend yield a fruitier, high-pH style, notes O'Reilly. This is a lot of wine for the price.
Taut, tart and juicy, with blackberry and lime flavors, hinting at citrus blossom as the finish lingers against tight tannins. Best after 2015.
Some of the greatest wine styles were formulated by trial, error, and...accident. The winery introduced "Ex-Umbris" as a one-off, "in 2002 after a wild fire struck the vineyard's surrounding hillsides. The residual ash and smoke resonated in the Syrah grapes, creating a very memorable wine. Year after year, we are asked to develop a Syrah to keep the story of this wine alive! Now, 10 vintages later, we hope you will enjoy this bold Syrah comprised from several exceptional vineyards in the Columbia, Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys." Rich berry fruit is fortunately in abundance more so than ash in this vintage, with "spicy flavors of licorice, cinnamon and toasty oak."