Tenet “The Pundit” Syrah
Tenet “The Pundit” Syrah
Fellow wine lovers, chances are you’re familiar with the wines of Chateau Ste. Michelle, and many of the other labels produced by their parent company called Ste. Michelle Wine Estate. Two flagship labels made by Ste. Michelle are Col Solare and Eroica wines which are collaborations with the Antinori Family of Tuscany, and Dr. Loosen of Germany, respectively. These two wines are the brainchild of Allen Shoup, who launched them during his time at Ste. Michelle, before founding his own winery, Long Shadows Vintners. With Col Solare and Eroica, Allen came up with the brilliant idea of making classic Washington wines, such as Riesling, in partnership with someone who is world renowned for making that specific grape - in the case of the Eroica Riesling, that person is Dr. Ernie Loosen, from the Mosel Valley of Germany.
Recently, Ste. Michelle’s head winemaker Bob Bertheau decided to add another wine to the list of these smaller, more experimental, collaboration style wines they make. He embarked on a passion project to make great Washington Syrah, by teaming up with some big names from France’s Rhone Valley, the traditional home of the grape.
As his co-conspirators, Bob chose well respected Northern Rhone winemaker Michel Gassier, and Southern Rhone winemaker Philippe Cambie, who was named winemaker of the year by Robert Parker. Together, they set off on tasting and experimenting, testing the test the limits of what Washington Syrah can be; determining how best to utilize the long established wisdoms of French winemaking, while still turning out an end product which distinctly speaks of Washington State. That end result is their new winery, called Tenet Wines, which is debuting with a Washington Syrah and a GSM, as well as a French Syrah - but today we’re focused on just the Washington Syrah, called “The Pundit”.
It’s a dense and meaty Syrah, with spicy hints brought on by the use of 10% whole cluster fermentation. The nose is complex, if a little tight, with ripe dark berries and baking spices. The palate is thick with notes of black raspberry, cacao nibs, and ripe cherries. Aged in a combination of French of American Oak, the Pundit Syrah has hints of vanilla and pastry crust, which combine with the fruit elements to give you a sense of berry pie in your glass. This is a very well made Syrah, and a great value, given how much flavor Bob and his teams have packed into the bottle. The Pundit is firm bodied, yet very approachable, with a long smooth finish. It’s drinking great now, and will open up beautifully with a few years in the bottle or an hour in the decanter.
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
Grape: 94% Syrah, 3% Grenache, 2% Mourvèdre, and 1% Viognier Co-Fermented with Syrah
Aging: 12 Months in 61% in Neutral French, 23% New French, 16% New American Oak barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Alcohol: 14.3% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Hermitage meets Washington Syrah
Food Pairings: Grilled Flank Steak