Every note and detail in its perfect place
Tenor Syrah is an example of how precision and polish can turn a big grape into a balanced, composed, and eminently drinkable wine. This Syrah doesn’t just want to wow you for a glass, it’s designed to keep you intrigued all the way through the bottle. Syrah loves to grow in Washington state, and as a result, there is a tremendous amount of variation from site to site. We want to create a 100% Syrah that showcases the best characteristics of what has become one of Washington’s signature grapes. We’ve worked hard to find that profile that gives people the essence of everything they love to taste in a Washington Syrah, all in one bottle.
Tenor Syrah is a Syrah-lover’s Syrah in that it’s a balanced and complete expression of everything that varietal can be: seductive and opulent, but still remarkably fresh and nuanced. This is a Tenor wine, so it’s big on texture and unapologetically fruit forward, but tempered by well-integrated acidity and ultrafine tannins. In its youth, concentrated dark fruit—blackberry, blueberry, plum skin, currant—are balanced by black tea, herbs, raspberry and sweet smoke.
We wanted to create a wine with enough backbone to mature for 8, 10, 12, or 14 years without fading. As the wine ages, big fruit gracefully makes way for flavors of olive, wood resin and bacon fat to emerge more fully.
Tenor Syrah is sourced from three of distinct vineyards. Each site exemplifies certain characteristics of the Syrah varietal and brings something unique to the equation, and each year brings unique challenges and opportunities to the process. With our Syrah, the approach in the vineyards is all about small changes, subtly coaxing out the nuances of each lot and maintaining consistency year over year. We pay meticulous attention to time windows, and we do a fair amount of leafing to moderate exposure. We really after that optimal concentration and texture, so we’re fairly aggressive about restricting yields and even restricting berry size.
Lawrence Vineyards is located in Royal City, WA. The Lawrence family has farming the Royal Slope for over 40 years. The grapes we source from this vineyard bring great richness and depth, along with superfine tannins, to the Syrah.
Stillwater Creek Vineyards
Stillwater Creek is a 235 acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills, planted in 2000. The proprietors bring over 30 years of grape growing experience in both California and Washington. Their fruit Contributes bold, ripe flavors, along with structure and freshness.
Va Piano Vineyards
This Walla Walla vineyard is growing some exceptional fruit, taking advantage of the cooler air that comes down from the Blue Mountains to build great concentration in their Syrah. These lots deliver racy aromatics, great color and length.
Sorting and SelectionsUpon entering the winery, each lot is hand sorted, destemmed and resorted prior to the crush. We do not do any whole cluster fermentation because we really want to maximize texture, opulence and clarity of the fruit.
FermentationTenor Syrah is fermented in a combination of stainless and concrete tanks. We make the decisions about how to ferment on a per lot, per year basis. Just one of the ways we strive to maintain consistency while respecting the unique character of the fruit we get in any given year.
CellaringWe barrel the Syrah exclusively in large format puncheons (500 liters). We use a combination of coopers that provide different things in the blend. One for bright red fruit aromatics and length the other for smoke, texture and sweetness. Large format barrels means slower maturation and more cohesive fruit integration. It also means it can go into bottle later but still present as fresh or fresher than wine aged in smaller barrels.
BlendingWe typically blend in June or July of the following year. Our blending process is completely blind, and done on a barrel by barrel basis.
The syrah is bottled at 17-19 months in our state of the art facility in Walla Walla.