My Latest in The Drinks Business:
by L.M. Archer
Non-profit organisation Rhône Rangers hosted its first post-pandemic event in McMinnville, Oregon on 4 April 2023. Its primary focus pivoted around a trade and media-only seminar and tasting entitled ‘Syrah in the Winery and the Vineyard.’
Importantly, the US non-profit organisation promotes Rhône-style wines produced by member wineries. Qualified wines must employ 75% of at least one of 22 approved Rhône grape varieties.
The symposium showcased the versatility of one of these — Syrah. It also revealed the grape’s suitability to the Pacific Northwest.
Syrah in the Vineyard
Syrah didn’t firmly take root in the US until the 1970’s. “There’s a lot of history, and a lot of culture, that arrived here in the Northwest in 60 years,” said Oregon winemaker Steve Robertson, owner of Delmas/SJR Vineyard in The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. “We’re just beginning to kind of open the door in these Rhône varieties.”
Other panelists included Herb Quady, winemaker and viticulturist at Quady North, and Nate Wall, winemaker at Troon Vineyard, both from Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. David Gates, vice president and viticulturist for North Coast’s Ridge Vineyards, and Sherman Thacher, owner and winemaker at Thacher Winery in Paso Robles, represented California. Veteran journalist Michael Alberty of Wine Enthusiast and The Oregonian moderated.
To all, Syrah proved an adept translator of terroir. “Syrah is often compared to Pinot Noir in terms of its ability to show that sense of place, that uniqueness,” observed Wall, who lived in the Willamette Valley for 10 years before moving to Applegate Valley. “I think what is so interesting about Syrah, and what so many winemakers love about it, is that it has this superpower – it’s insane adaptability – from Aussie Shiraz to Côte Rôtie.” READ MORE HERE.
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