Syrah #1 : Barnard Griffin Syrah 2012
Appellation: Columbia Valley, Washington
Alcohol by Volume: 13.9%
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 90 points
CV Says: Some people would arguably say that Syrah is the best varietal for Washington — it does very well here. Barnard Griffin was established in 1983. The vineyard is in the Columbia Valley, and the winery in Redmond. The tulip label featured on the Syrah is being retired — Barnard Griffin also uses (and increases to use) a newer label with a gold griffin. I think the first Barnard Griffin tulip label was for the Tulip festival here in Mount Vernon. I’m not certain of that, but it is a nice, familiar look to those of us in the Valley.
Syrah from this state of ours is very well known and liked. Syrahs has varying levels of intensity — this one is approachable, but it has a lot of luster. This is a serious wine. Syrahs in general are serious wines. They’re full of fruit, but they’re also full of leather, and the denseness the grape has to offer. This is a wine that would be good for fall meals; it would be wonderful with lamb. It would be fine with steak, or other cuts of beef. It would stand up well to anything that had a bit of spice, or heat, to it. The Barnard Griffin Syrah has the flavors of cassis, and ripe, dark fruit, such as plum or cherry.
Syrah #2: Alvarez Nölting Fedriani Laffitte
Appellation: Valencia, Spain (Eastern Mediterranean Coast)
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Wine Enthusiast Rating: 93 points
CV Says: This Syrah is … BAM! Full of flavor. It has a lovely hit: it’s not like a hit over the head, but it will get your attention. This is a bona fide, obscure classic Spanish Syrah. For this wine, it’s all about the extraction. If it’s in the grape, they’ll get it into the wine, and the color of the wine is testament to that committed extraction: it’s inky and opaque. The Fedriani Faffitte is a dense, thick wine. While CV and I (Rachael, his interviewer and scribe) were chatting about Syrahs, we were joined by our Kitchen Manager, Lisa (a fantastic cook in her own right)m who was looking for a wine to serve with a bone marrow appetizer. This was the wine of choice. Its suppleness makes it a surprisingly adaptable food wine: it would pair well with hard cheeses; dark, nutty chocolate; or lamb. Or, of course, you could go the route CV and I both did independently, and enjoy it with “it”.
Style wise, the Barnard Griffin is a light Syrah; the Fedriani Laffitte is BIG. The former actually has a higher alcohol content, but due to the style of the Spanish Syrah (and its extraction process) it’s a much bigger, heftier wine.