I had the privilege of participating as a featured winery at a seminar during the 2016 Taste Washington event in Seattle this past weekend. The discussion included the audience, a New York Sommelier, a renowned Washington State retailer and four winemakers respected for their Rhone-styled wines from Washington.
Each Washington State Rhone wine was paired blind against a celebrated wine consisting of mostly old world with a couple of sought after wines out of France. The wines were tasted in pairs.
The moderator cleverly paired our 2013 Red Willow Vineyard Chapel Block Syrah against the famed La Chapelle Vineyard in Hermitage. The Red Willow 2013 Chapel Block Syrah was unmistakably New World with bright ruby color and fresh flavors. It, however, also showed finesse and balance along with perfume and gorgeous lifted fruit and acid. It was clearly an example of balance and focus.
When both wines were unveiled we were blind tasted against the most cherished and expensive wine in the entire line-up - Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle 2009. That both wines belonged on the same table was supported by crowd applause!
Exactly 30 years after Mike Sauer’s inaugural planting of Syrah in Washington State, his Chapel Block Syrah and his inspiration in Hermitage were enjoyed as equals.
You can find the beautiful Red Willow Vineyard 20 miles west of our Union Gap property in Yakima Valley. The iconic Chapel that stands as a sentinel over our Syrah vines is uncannily similar to La Chapelle in Hermitage.