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Owen Roe Red Willow Vineyard Chapel Block 2008
Red Willow Vineyard has emerged as one of the premier sites for Syrah in the Pacific NW, and our new 2008 Red Willow Chapel Block Syrah is an expression of this very special place. Red Willow's high elevation, 1200-1300 ft, placed it above the influence of the glacial Missoula floods from 12,000 years ago. As a result, the soils are more shallow and ancient than those of lower elevations. This forces vines planted here to produce especially low yields of densely concentrated fruit with very unique flavor profiles; some of the best Syrah we've ever seen. This wine is bold and complex with inky colors, fragrant aromas of lavendar with blueberry notes, cedar smoke and a hint of vanilla and licorice on the finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Jerry Owen, on the the vineyard side, and David O'Reilly, who makes the wine, have formed Owen Roe with a simple purpose: to produce excellent wines from grapes grown and cultivated in the best vineyards in the Pacific Northwest. We have selected top quality grapes from vineyards chosen because they are in areas that ripen fruit fully, and the fruit has excellent acidity and ph balance. These vineyards are in the Willamette, Mid-Columbia, Yakima, and Walla Walla valleys. Each vineyard is contracted by the acre, with strict controls on yields and vine development. The same high principles are found in the winery. We allow only minimal handling, racking by gravity, and excellent cooperage. From the fruit to the bottle, cork, and label, Owen Roe aims for the very best.
Each of the sites we work with are tendered by true craftsmen of the viticultural trade. The principle of good earth stewardship is very important to everyone we work with, so no herbicides or pesticides are used in our vineyards.
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 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.
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.
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.