Betz Family Winery La Serenne Syrah 2016
Boushey Vineyard, which has been the source of La Serenne since 2000, is one of the stars of the mid-Yakima Valley. Farmed by Dick Boushey, a proponent of Washington Syrah since the 1980’s, this site has gained notoriety for its unique varietal expression and supple texture. The word Serenne is an affectionate name for Syrah in the local dialect of Ampuis, a town in the heart France’s northern Rhône valley. We find this to be a fitting name for our Syrah from Boushey, as it reminds us of the wild (or as the French say “Sauvage”), Rhône-esque character of the wine.
The fruit reflects the sum total of conditions here: location in the mid-Yakima Valley, higher elevation, cooler climate, soils undisturbed by the Missoula Floods and Dick’s exemplary farming practices. Harvest is typically 2-3 weeks later than our Syrah vines planted elsewhere, indicating the uniqueness of its position.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
By carving out specific vineyard blocks and being meticulous in the vineyard and cellar they are able to achieve the quality they aspire to, the result being highly-acclaimed wines that compete on the world stage.
As importantly over the years our winery culture has become a way of life in which everyone – our growers, winery team and customers are family.
Today, Betz Family Winery is headed by two families, committed to be true to their heritage, their family members and true to what Betz embodies: wines of dimension and pleasure that allow the character of Washington to shine through.
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.
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.
Marked by an 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.
Tasting Notes for Syrah
Syrah is a dry, red wine that typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice 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 Food Pairings for Syrah
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 Secrets for Syrah
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.