Appellation: Columbia Valley
Best Buy! While Cabernet Sauvignon remains king in Washington, some of the region's most acclaimed and buzzworthy wines are bottlings of Syrah. As a variety, it ranks as the No. 3 most-harvested red in Washington state. In the hands of John Freeman, longtime winemaker at 35-year-old Waterbrook Winery in Walla Walla, this grape native to the Rhône Valley in France is one of Washington's most delicious bargains. He sourced it in 2017 from underrated Mirage Vineyard near the White Bluffs north of Pasco, historic Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain and Browne Estate Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. Fascinating aromas of blueberry taffy, blackberry pie and smoked meat lead to rich flavors of black fruit and a pleasing creaminess. There's enjoyable depth to the nicely managed tannins, blueberry acidity and long finish of cola, graphite and vanilla.
Rated “Outstanding!” by Great Northwest Wine. (14.6% alc.)
Cases produced: 972
Food pairings: Suggestions from Freeman include red meats, particularly game and well-marbled steak, dark chocolate and chocolate-influenced desserts.
Waterbrook Winery, 10518 W. Highway 12, Walla Walla, 509-522-1262, www.waterbrook.com.