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Rotie Cellars Northern Blend 2010

Rhone Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP94
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Modeled after a Cote Rotie (hence the winery name) this is a co-fermented blend of 95% Syrah (45% SJR Vineyard in the "Rocks" and the balance from Dwelley and Patina) and 5% Viognier. It displays a deep ruby color and a nose of raspberry, cherry, cassis and a bit of plum, with scents of lavender, sandalwood, orange peel, oriental incense and a hint of violets. The palate comprises of thick dark fruits wrapped around a deep bore core, underlain with licorice, Swiss chocolate and French roast. The back reveals a grainy texture that is intermixed with earthy minerals, dried cherry and orange peel, and touches of crème brulée, and roasted nuts, followed by chewy sweet-dry tannins on the finish.

Blend: 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Stepping things up a notch in concentration and richness, yet still holding onto the polish and elegance shown by all of Sean’s wines, the 2010 Northern Blend is a co-fermented blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier that was aged mostly in neutral barrel before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Deep ruby/purple, it is deep and dense aromatically, with smoky black fruits, bacon fat, dark chocolate, wild herbs and crushed rock-like minerality all emerging from the glass. Medium to full-bodied on the palate and simply impeccably put together, with a concentrated, rich palate weight that’s carried by a seamless texture and a lively, energetic feel, this thrilling, age-worthy Syrah should be given 3-4 years in the cellar and then consumed over the following 10-12 years. Drink 2016-2025.
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Rotie Cellars

Rotie Cellars

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Rotie Cellars, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
When starting Rotie Cellars, Sean Boyd wanted to pay respect to the wines he truly loves to drink, those of France's Rhone Valley. From the dense Syrah-Viognier blends of the north, to the sultry GSM blends of the south, he has always felt there is plenty to love and learn. So he set a goal to start a winery based entirely on making traditional Rhone-style blends in Washington State. The idea is to combine old world winemaking techniques with the best Rhone varietal fruit in the area. Rotie will never be a large winery with a huge production, but rather, a small winery dedicated to creating old world wines from new world grapes.

Walla Walla Valley

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Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. It is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers. Though it is cooler and wetter than most of Washington State’s viticultural areas, irrigation from the Columbia River is still common, though some vineyards on the rainier eastern end of the AVA are able to dry farm.

The conditions in the Walla Walla Valley are perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of black olives, smoke, bacon fat, and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced in a range of styles from smooth and supple to tannic and structured. White varieties are a relative rarity here. Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes blended with Sémillon in the style of Bordeaux white blends, resulting in a richer, rounder version take on the variety. Plantings of Viognier are minimal, but often quite successful.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

EWLROTIENORTH_2010 Item# 120965