2011 Fausse Piste "Garde Manger" Columbia Valley Washington Syrah

SKU #1126846

The French term "garde manger" means "keeper of the food," and considering winemaker and owner Jesse Skiles' background--he's a graduate of CIA and as cooked in many a farm-to-table restaurants across the country and most recently at Owen Roe winery in St. Paul, Oregon--it is an apt name for this food-friendly Syrah. Picked for acidity and balance and aged in neutral oak. 97% Syrah 3% Viognier Riverrock, Elephant Mountian, Outlook, Marcoux, Ambassador Vineyards (100% Columbia Valley Fruit) all are self rooted, Organic/Sustainable (non certified) harvested around 22- 23 brix Native spontainous fermentation with around 80% wholecluster- avarage 25-30 days on the skins with foot crushing and then punched down twice a day-Aged on the lees for 11 months in a mix of neutral french oak barrels 80% and neutral puncheons-20% . 550 cases produced total.

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Price: $18.99

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By: Melissa Smith |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 9/6/2013  | Send Email
I'm not a huge fan of Syrah's. I've come to find that those of us in the wine industry don't all like all of the varietals. Some are turned off by gewurtz, others by aglianico, mine is Syrah, so when someone makes a syrah that I fall in love with it's a big deal. At least to me. This wine is more fruit than phenolic, more earthy than savory, has great texture, and overall is a very pretty wine made using traditional (natural) wine making techniques (or lack thereof). Picking early, relying on spontaneous fermentation from yeast brought in from the vineyard, minimal sulphur addition, minimal fining and filtration, and minimal disturbance in the cellar. Plus as a fellow CIA alum that has too worked some of the best garde manger stations in the country, he's making us look very good in the wine industry.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- 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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.4