Tenet Le Fervent Syrah Costieres de Nimes 2013
Blend: 91% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 3% Viognier
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
At Tenet wines, we are convinced that Washington state is an exceptional terroir for Syrah and its Rhone Valley brethren. A project between the iconic Washington state winery Chateau Ste. Michelle and the acclaimed Rhone winemaker Michel Gassier, it establishes a parallel between Syrah's cradle and most renowned region, the Rhone Valley, and its tremendous potential on Washington's basaltic slopes.
Chateau Ste. Michelle's Head Winemaker Bob Bertheau and Michel Gassier have combined their experience with the assistance of Southern Rhone's famous enology consultant, Philippe Cambie, and crafted wines from both regions, aiming to show their respective character and their common excellence.
Gently rolling hills covered by large, round stones on south-facing slopes, Costieres de Nimes is a substantial IGP zone that was formerly considered part of the Languedoc. Today it is included as a section of the southern Rhone; its climate, topography and wines put it more in line with that appellation. Grenache is its most important red variety, along with Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignan. Half of the production here is rosé.
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.
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.