What: Syncline Wine Cellars Subduction Red Columbia Valley 2015 $22
Where: City Cellars, Ballard Market, Leschi Market, McCarthy and Schiering, Pete’s Wine Shop, Pike and Western, Sixth Ave Wine Seller, Whole Foods, PCC
Why: Rhone varieties are on the rise in Washington. Syrah is increasingly a star but more recently other Rhone varieties, such as grenache and mourvèdre, are gaining traction as well. Perhaps the most intriguing trend, however, is toward creating Rhone-style blends. These blends often include grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre and so are sometimes referred to as GSMs. Increasingly, however, winemakers are exploring blending with other varieties used in the Rhone Valley.
Perhaps the state’s best example of a Rhone-style blend comes from Syncline Wine Cellars. It also happens to be exceptionally well priced given the quality that is in the bottle. The 2015 Syncline Wine Cellars Subduction Red Columbia Valley ($22) is just over half syrah, with the balance mourvèdre, grenache, cinsault, carignan and counoise. It offers perfumed aromas of blue and purple fruit along with light herb and spice accents. The style is direct and pure, showing no obvious new oak influence backed up by a heart-stopping mouthfeel. If you want to taste the cutting edge of Rhone blends in Washington, look no further.