2004 Columbia Valley Syrah

        The 2004 vintage marks the first Syrah made at Robert Karl Cellars. The vintage was somewhat unpredictable; influenced by 2 winter events. A sudden freeze occurred in October, followed in February by a very deep freeze of –20° temperatures for three days.  This was the first deep freeze we had experienced in our blocks and we were concerned our vines may have been damage and need to be pruned back to the ground.  Thankfully, our vines didn’t sustain any damage due in large part to the good cold drainage down to the Columbia River.  The vines cropped heavier than we expected; maybe a natural phenomena resulting from the shock of the sudden and severe cold.  The summer ripening season held no surprises and harvesting occurred at an average time. We also noted darker than usual color in the fermenting wines.  We produced only 100 cases.

         The 2004 Syrah is a full bodied, rich red with wonderful integration of flavors. It is big and spicy with aromas of bacon, earth and chocolate followed by silky tannins on a mouthful of plums, blueberries and blackberries finishing with that trademark mocha.

        The 2004 Syrah is 100% Syrah.  The grapes were sourced from McKinley Springs vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills. It was aged in 100% French oak for 14 months, the oak was one vintage old.  The ideal consumption is 3 to 7 years from release date, but this wine will develop for another 10 years.  The alcohol by volume is 14.7%. It was bottled January 17, 2006.

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Best Wine at Sunshine & Wine, People’s Choice Award
Gold, Northwest Wine Summit
Gold, Washington State Wine Competition

Outstanding! Wine Press Northwest The Gunselmans continue to focus their attention on small lots from the Horse Heaven Hills and the results are huge. Varietal tendencies show early with aromas and flavors of blackberry jam, raspberries, bacon fat, black pepper, vanilla and savory note. The texture is rich, well structured and smooth with a voluptuous mouth feel. A string of success means they are no longer one of Spokane’s secrets, so act quickly.

Wines Northwest The grapes for this wine (and all Robert Karl wines from now on) come from the Horse Heaven Hills area, specifically McKinley Springs Vineyard. Rebecca Gunselman suggests that the aroma of this wine reminds her of "bacon and earth," to which I add rich black fruits, vanilla and hints of toasty oak. Elegant, but still a great wine with meats from the grill. (Chuck Hill)

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