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B. Leighton Olsen Brothers Vineyard Syrah 2015

Syrah/Shiraz from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • JS97
  • RP94
  • JD93
  • WE93
  • WS92
13.5% ABV
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • RP94
  • WS93
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#52 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2018

Deep, dark, and brooding. Dare I say seductive? Black plum, exotic flowers, grilled meats, sage, and wet earth. Finishes bold and lovely with purity. This wine is dynamic!

Critical Acclaim

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JS 97
James Suckling
This has impressive focus, depth and precision. Really complex pepper, spice-dusted blood plums, cocoa powder and blackberries. The tannins are super succulent, firm but not aggressive. The depth and fluid power here is staggering. Intensely structured and deeply flavored with blood plums, cocoa powder and graphite. Big on wow factor, this is a great wine that needs another 3-4 years to build out to full potential.
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 Syrah Olsen Brothers Vineyard is also superb, offering up beautiful aromas of plums, dark chocolate, asphalt, violets and grilled meat that wouldn't be out of place in the Northern Rhône. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, rich and savory, with fine-grained tannins, a sapid core of fruit and a long, saline finish. Follow this complex and sophisticated Syrah over the coming decade.
JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
The 100% varietal (all Phelps clone) 2015 Syrah Olsen Brother's Vineyard sports a deep purple color to go with a minty, tobacco, currants, and darker fruit-driven profile. Deep, rich and full-bodied, it has notable freshness and purity, fine tannin, and a great finish.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
The aromas draw you into the glass with notes of green herb, freshly peeled orange, raspberry, smoked meat and mineral. The palate is reserved in style but still quite flavorful, with seamless smoked-meat flavors that linger on the long, long finish. Lighter styled, it’s all about subtlety and nuance but it delivers both in abundance.
Editors' Choice
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Brawny but well-structured, with generous blueberry, bitter chocolate and garrigue flavors that power toward big but resolved tannins. Best from 2021 through 2025.
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B. Leighton

B. Leighton

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B. Leighton, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
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Brennon Leighton is the Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Charles Smith Wines where he oversees all viticulture, vineyard relations and winemaking for all Charles Smith brands, including K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines, ViNO, SIXTO, Wines of Substance and Casa Smith. Considered to be one of the best winemakers in the state of Washington by wine critics and connoisseurs alike, Leighton has nearly 20 years of experience in winemaking and viticulture.

Leighton grew up in Santa Cruz, California and moved to Seattle when he was a 21-year-old punk rocker, who exclusively drank cheap beer and whiskey. He was first introduced to wine while employed at a high-end restaurant and decided, at the age of 25, to go to college and earn a degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California at Davis.

Prior to working at Charles Smith Wines, Leighton worked in vineyards in California, eventually returning to Seattle to work for Chateau Ste. Michelle and later as Head Winemaker for Efeste. After first meeting in the early 1990s, Leighton and Charles Smith reconnected, and Smith hired Leighton as a consultant to help with his well-known wine, Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Two years later, in 2012, Charles Smith hired Leighton as the winery’s full-time Winemaker, and partner in his new Chardonnay project – SIXTO. Leighton’s thoughtful, kind, and intense passion for wine made him perfect for the job. In 2014, Leighton was promoted to Director of Winemaking and Viticulture where he now manages all vineyards and winemaking teams.

In 2012, Leighton created B. Leighton Wines to showcase the world-class terroir of Washington State. B. Leighton Wines are authentic, classic and alive. The wines have received 90+ points by wine critics such as Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, who most recently noted, “If you haven’t heard of Brennon Leighton, now’s a good time to fix that!”

Yakima Valley

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As the first recognized wine-growing region in the Pacific Northwest, Yakima Valley is centrally located within Washington’s vast Columbia Valley. The region also includes Washington’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines, Otis Vineyard, planted in 1957, and Harrison Hill Vineyard, planted in 1963. Yakima Valley contains three smaller sub-regions: Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, and Snipes Mountain and is ideal for both red and white wine production. In fact, Yakima Valley is Washington’s most diverse region, boasting more than 40 different grape varieties over about one hundred miles.

The cooler parts of the valley are home to almost half of the Chardonnay and Riesling produced in the state! Both are made in a wide range of styles depending on the conditions of the vineyard site.

But its warmer locations yield a large proportion of Washington’s best Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The finest Yakima Valley reds are jam-packed full of red cherry, currant, raspberry or blackberry fruit, as well as cocoa, herb, spice and savory notes, and exhibit a supple texture, great body, focus and length.


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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

YNG281008_2015 Item# 434705