McCrea Boushey Grande Cote Vineyard Syrah (375ml) 2006
Syrah/Shiraz from Columbia Valley, Washington
Dick Boushey's vineyard sits well above the valley floor in the central Yakima Valley north of Grandview. The steep, south-facing hillside of calcified vesicular basalt captures the sun's intensity and provides for excellent, gradual ripening; long growing conditions; and heightened complexity. It has been described as, "the best syrah vineyard in the state, if not the country" (Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast). Since we began bottling the two single vineyard Syrahs in 1997 – a wonderful contrast we liken to "black and blue" -- the Grande Côte has consistently produced a wine classically Northern Rhône in character. It has aromas of earthiness, leather, cedar, and mushrooms with high-tones of violets, cassis and blueberry (the "blue"); followed by dense flavors of cherry, plum, licorice, smoked meats, pencil lead, toasted nuts and truffle. It finishes with great acidity – an assurance of its excellent cellaring potential. We expect this wine to drink well for ten to twenty years.
Wine Enthusiast - "This particular bottling belongs with the very best Syrahs from this Syrah-infatuated state. A broad, toasty, full-bodied and fully realized wine, it has begun to smooth out from the extra years in bottle, but has a long life ahead. Berries, cherries, chocolate, coffee, mocha, tobacco, fungus, graphite… the flavors go and go."
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About Columbia ValleyView a map of Columbia Valley wineries
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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