2012 Reynvaan "The Contender" Walla Walla Valley Syrah

SKU #1176756 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A classic Rocks Syrah, the 2012 Syrah The Contender is a deep, rich, full-bodied beauty that boasts terrific notes of ripe plums, blackberries, truffle and wild herbs. Incorporating 3% Marsanne (which also give the texture some oomph), it has a big, layered, seamless texture, no hard edges and sweet tannin. Drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years. (JD)  (6/2015)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

 Aromatically dazzling, this wine shows complex notes of smoked meat, fire pit, black olive, peat, crushed flowers and sea breeze. The savory flavors are rich yet light and restrained, with a long, drawn-out finish. It's an impressive wine whose best years are far in front of it. Drink 2020 to 2026. (SS)  (9/2015)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Multilayered, complex and inviting, this offers an open feel to the plum, blackberry, black olive and black tea flavors, lingering easily on the polished, refined finish. Drink now through 2022. (HS)  (6/2015)

92 points Vinous

 (13.8% alcohol; co-fermented with 3% Marsanne): Saturated ruby-red. A touch of apricot skin adds interest to the blackberry and boysenberry aromas, but the overall impression here is less floral than the In the Rocks Syrah with its Viognier component. Sweet, silky and intense, conveying a captivating fine-grained texture to its flavors of purple berries lifted by a hint of white stone fruits. Not at all a meaty style of Syrah, and a bit more tannic than the In the Rocks, perhaps due to the Marsanne addition. (ST) 92+  (11/2015)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Matt Reynvaan blends Syrah from his In the Rocks Vineyard with three percent Marsanne, allowing a little light to shine through the sleek blackberry flavors of The Contender. The finish is all unsweetened cocoa and black, smoky fruit. A ripe style for barbecue.  (10/2015)

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Price: $89.99
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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.