2014 K Vintners "Milbrandt" Wahluke Slope Syrah

SKU #1260277 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Probably the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2014 Syrah Milbrandt Vineyard is 100% Syrah, fermented with 100% whole clusters, that spent 15 months in 20% new French oak barrels and puncheons. This beauty is overflowing with notes of cassis, caramelized meats, licorice and spice, which gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated, superbly textured Syrah that can be enjoyed today, or cellared for a decade. These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste. Readers should also check out the new label, Wines of Substance, which are also included in this report. Going forward, the K Vintners label will be for the Rhone inspired blends, and all Bordeaux blends will be moved to the Wines of Substance label. (JD)  (6/2016)


 Bright, dark red. Dark cherry, red berries, sexy smoke and underbrush on the nose. Sweet and lightly saline on the palate, showing moderate lift to its fruit flavors of cherry and dark raspberry. Finishes with broad, dusty tannins. (ST)  (7/2016)

K&L Notes

100% Syrah from the Clifton Hills and Northridge Vineyards on the Wahluke Slope. An ideal pairing with hearty beef stews and pasta Bolognese. According to the winery: "Textbook K Syrah. THIS IS IT! Game, black olive, crushed stone and a bouquet of fresh flowers thrown in. WOW!"

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Price: $26.99
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Staff Image By: Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/2/2016 | Send Email
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to make a winery trip Washington wine country, culminating in a visit with Charles Smith of K Vintners/ Charles Smith/ Casa Smith/ etc. We struggled to keep up as he flew around the old vehicle-repair- shop-turned-tasting-room, swinging open "walls" revealing office areas, running to the back to crank Soundgarden over the speakers (drawing a few eye rolls from the desk workers), then opening seemingly every bottle in sight! As we drank through magnums of 2002 and 2006 Syrahs, which were incredible, I quickly realized that his wines truly are an extension of the man making them: bold, and full of life, in your face, but in tune with the land and incredibly well made. This Milbrandt is an "entry level" Syrah for K Vintners, but you wouldn't guess it! This wine is incredibly complex, showing layers of pure fruit, an array of spices, savory notes, and barrel integration. If this sounds intriguing, stock up as they won't last long.

Staff Image By: Dave Genevro | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2016 | Send Email
This is delicious, easy to enjoy Washington Syrah at its best, at an even better price. The fruit is generous, with plump generosity on the mid-palate, with a lovely and silky-smooth spice backbone to round out the wine and give it texture and life. This deep purple Syrah from our dear friends at K Vintners is a knock-out of the park. Enjoy!
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2016 | Send Email
This Syrah is bold, elegant and a match made for barbecue beef or pork. On the nose there's plum, blueberry, cedar and allspice. The palate is full and round, with balanced tannin and elegant texture. This wine from Washington truly delivers and will be great to have on hand!

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2016 | Send Email
The 2014 K Vintners Milbrandt Syrah may be the best red wine that K Vintners/Charles Smith has released this year. Dried violets, purple/blue fruit and some subtle gamy notes appear on the nose. The palate explodes with more dark berry and black plum notes plus the inclusion of a persistent layer of acid that keeps the character of the wine intact. Yes, it's a fruit-laden, unapologetically massive wine. It's also massively delicious and will sell out quickly (especially at $27 bucks apiece), so my recommendation is to nab a few bottles of this one while you can.

Staff Image By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/30/2016 | Send Email
The nose is classic Washington Syrah, bold, dramatic yet a little less oaky than I'd seen in these wines before, which I found as a plus. On the palate the wine was lush, broad and full of saturated flavors, notes of chocolate and hints of tar. The finish goes out like it came in, dramatic, splashy and full-bodied, you can't miss you've had this wine!
Drink from 2016 to 2020

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/30/2016 | Send Email
Charles Smith, the crazy haired maniac that has helped put Washington State wine on the map is about as big of a character as all the stories, both true and rumored, would have you believe. I have some of my own stories but those would be inappropriate in this, or about any other setting. The one thing about him that I can talk about though without any hesitation is his unflinching commitment to quality whether it is in his massive bottlings of $15 dollar wine or in his one barrel of $150 wine he never cuts corners and the ultimate product is all that matters to him cost or time be damned.
The 2014 Milbrandt Syrah is a perfect example of this attention to detail and overall quality. From two different vineyards, Clifton and Northridge, both farmed and planted by the Milbrandt brothers this 100% Syrah is big and burly with a bursting fruit driven intensity and plenty of cured meat spice. Coffee bean and mocha blend with fennel pollen and white sage on the nose in this flagship Syrah. Plush and velvety this is electric Syrah with the typical K Vintners crushed violet tones, chocolate covered cherries, pan fried bacon and chocolate milkshake flavors. Savory and with tremendous length the white pepper studded finish is on par with some of the best Syrahs the US has to offer. This is one powerful, massive wine that still has good generosity and drinkability, easily enjoyable now or over the next 8-12 years.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/30/2016 | Send Email
I love to steer customers looking for rich, dark, smooth luscious wine towards Washington Syrah because generally this is where you can find it. Unfortunately, unlike Cabernet coming from this area the Syrah is generally more expensive because people are aware of how good Washington Syrah can be. So I was surprised when I saw we had a new vintage from K Vintners, one of Charles Smith's projects, for under $30. This wine is bold, dark, and smooth, the fruit is overlaid with cassis, liquorice and a spice finish. Pick one of these bottles up now, wait until big Holiday meals happen and taste the magic of this Syrah.

Additional Information:



- 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 15