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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Charles Smith Royal City Syrah 2008

Syrah/Shiraz from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP99
  • WE98
  • WS96
0% ABV
  • RP99
  • WS97
  • RP92
  • WE99
  • RP99
  • WE100
  • RP98
  • WS97
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Winemaker Notes

Every vintage it just seems to get better. Deeper than the '06, more luxurious than the '07. Layer upon layer upon layer. Earth, cool stone, tobacco, faint dark fruit, Asian five spice. Harmonic, complex, ethereal. Its hard to know where the wine ends and you begin. The very best to date.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Royal City Syrah was sourced from the Stoneridge Vineyard. It displays a soaring perfume of sandalwood, garrigue, lavender, smoke, bacon, game, blueberry, and black raspberry. Super-concentrated, it deftly marries power and elegance in a seamless wine that should see its 20th birthday in peak form.
WE 98
Wine Enthusiast
An Amaro-like mix of bitters and herbs; this is exceptionally dense and dark. The fruit is a grace note; the big flavors come from herb, earth, rock, barrl and more. Licorice, baking spices, smoke, black cherry, Bourbon barrel, and on it goes. Huge and dense and seemingly endless.
WS 96
Wine Spectator
Savory, with layers and layers of flavor on a deftly balanced frame. The velvety style emphasizes black olive, green olive and roasted meat flavors around a subterranean core of blackberry, tar and spice. The finish rolls along unimpeded by polished tannins. Drink now through 2018. 600 cases made.
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Charles Smith

Charles Smith

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Charles Smith, Columbia Valley, Washington
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First there was K Vintners, then the Magnificent Wine Company and now winemaker Charles Smith brings you his latest revelation. Charles Smith Wines: The Modernist Project is a response to how people generally consume wine today, that is immediately…as in immediately after being purchased at a market, restaurant or bar, to be drunk straight away. Wine in this category is typically either simple, or is a wine that would be much better a few years down the road. 'Modernist Project' wines are about putting as much into the bottle as possible. The intent is to create wines to be enjoyed now, but with typicity with regards to variety—that is merlot that tastes like merlot—and to the vineyard—wine that tastes like where it was grown. The wines are full of flavor, balanced, and true to their place of origin.

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.

STC831588_2008 Item# 112660