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Tenor Syrah 2010

Syrah/Shiraz from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP94
  • WS90
15.1% ABV
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4.5 6 Ratings
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4.5 6 Ratings
15.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Notes of dark plums, black cherry, cured meat and a hint of clove. A soft and fragrant pepper is there but it is buried in the fruit at this time. A touch of saline and a floral push add to the complexity. The palate is massive and concentrated, but in its youth it seems to be hiding detail in its soft tannin and more brambly fruit and mineral driven palate. A fresher and brighter wine than the 2008 Tenor Syrah, but a bit more precocious.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
An impressive, pedal-to-the-metal effort that stays balanced and fresh, the 2010 Syrah, aged 19 months in 100% new French oak puncheons (larger, 500-liter barrels), offers up a savory, complex array of creme de cassis, salted beef, licorice, pepper and chocolate as well as a full-bodied, beautifully pure and thrillingly textured mouthfeel. Showing more and more purity and Syrah typicity with air, this fantastic effort can be enjoyed now, but will be even better in 2-3 years. A 10-12 year drink window isn’t out of the question. Impressive!
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Supple, lithe and vibrant, with well-mannered blueberry and plum fruit, shaded with white pepper and cream as the finish lingers easily.
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Tenor
Tenor, Columbia Valley, Washington
2010 Syrah
The drive at Tenor is to make world-class wine from the vineyards in Washington. Tenor is very unique. As every wine lover knows, due to the weather of a certain growing year, different vintages produce different classes of wine. At Tenor, they only release a wine when we feel it is world-class. What does this mean? This means, if you were to line up the greatest Merlot's (for example) from 2008, Tenor would be among that list. To this end, they will declassify any wine that they don't feel meets that criteria. For this reason, no two vintage releases will see the same line up of wines, because no two years growing seasons are the same. In 2007, it was Merlot and Malbec. In 2008, it is Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah. This type of standard instills a trust in their label; that what they choose to put it in a Tenor bottle is world-class.

Columbia Valley

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A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

WWH133325_2010 Item# 131146

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