2008 Cayuse "En Chamberlin" Walla Walla Valley Syrah

SKU #1087806 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2008 En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah offers up notes of tar, licorice, earthy minerals, blueberry, and blackberry. Dense and powerful on the palate, this appears to be Baron’s take on Hermitage. (JM)  (8/2011)

96 points Wine Enthusiast

 A huge wine, fat with the characteristic Cayuse funk, and accented with plenty of meaty asphalt. Potent and powerful, bursting with berries and plums, scented with the aromas of earth and sweet (not dried) herb, chicken stock and flavors that run through the same exotic range. Round and full, forward and balanced, drinking well and maybe just a bit rounder than its brethren.  (11/2011)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Dark and brooding, youthful and vibrant, with plum, currant, dried tomato and fresh leather flavors, picking up stony notes as the finish persists impressively. This has richness, minerality and depth.  (8/2011)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright, deep ruby-red. Captivating aromas of boysenberry and mocha. Dense, sweet and savory, with exotic flavors of candied blackberry, hickory-smoked meat and leather. The thickness of this syrah is nicely leavened by harmonious, ripe acidity. Finishes with perfectly integrated acidity and palate-staining richness. (ST)  (10/2011)

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Price: $159.99

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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.