Pursued by Bear Baby Bear Syrah 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2015 Syrah Baby Bear is open and wafts from the glass with a juicy core of fruit and aromas of Chambord, dark spiced plum, dense mocha tones and smoky chocolate essence. Full-bodied, the palate is rich, compact, focused and robust with flavors of blackberry jus and black spices that coat the palate with balance and precision. It lingers long with the generous black fruit essence on the persistent finish that continues to evolve in the mouth. This comes recommended.
No one would mistake Kyle McLachlan’s Baby Bear Syrah for a baby. It’s rich and heady, with notes of cassis and carob and the sort of concentration normally associated with Port. Still, there’s a minty licorice-root spice lining the flavors that gives it a compelling edge. For lamb, roasted over coals. (389 cases)
A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing 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 even extends into northern Oregon!
Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. 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 entire 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. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”