What: Tenet Wines The Pundit Syrah Columbia Valley 2013 $25; Tenet Wines Le Fervent Syrah Costières de Nîmes 2013 $23
Where: Fred Meyer Greenwood, Fred Meyer Lake City, QFC Holman Road, El Gaucho
Why: Syrah is undeniably one of Washington’s most distinctive grape varieties and Chateau Ste Michelle is looking to raise its profile through a new partnership with two stars from the Rhone, Michel Glassier and Philippe Cambie.
“What we want to do is stay true to Washington State but make a wine that is more delicate, more complex, and has more finesse,” Ste. Michelle head winemaker Bob Berthau said of the new project, Tenet Wines.
Doing so has involved making adjustments in the vineyard and in the winery based on Glassier and Cambie’s experiences in France. “What we’ve tried to do is share with Bob and his team things that we can put in place to draw out the sense of place that Washington has,” Glassier explained.
Tenet’s just-released inaugural wines are two syrahs, one from Washington’s Columbia Valley and one from the Costières de Nîmes region of France. “We wanted to have the echo of two wines with a strong sense of place but that are different because of where they are from,” Glassier said.
Tenet Wines The Pundit Syrah Columbia Valley 2013 ($25) is a gorgeous example of Washington syrah, with a plush, almost creamy feel to the cherry and berry flavors that show both intensity and restraint. Tenet Wines Le Fervent Syrah Costières de Nîmes 2013 ($23) is every bit as good but is distinctively French. They make for a fascinating side-by-side comparison - easily done at El Gaucho which is featuring both by the glass. A third wine, a blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre, will be released this fall.