Thu 26 Mar 2009
Feeling peckish, I found some oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge, so I brushed some olive oil on a couple pieces of rustic bread, smeared some of the tomatoes on them and sprinkled on a little fresh thyme, then I ran them under the broiler for a few minutes. I sliced some Comte cheese and some dry salami, put everything on a plate and thought, “I need a glass of wine.”
Happily, I opened a bottle of the Saint Laurent Syrah 2005, Wahluke Slope, Washington. The more I try wines from this young region , granted appellation status in 2006, the more convinced I become that the syrah grape finds a natural home there. Lying within the vast Columbia Valley appellation and north of Yakima, the Wahluke Slope is the state’s warmest grape-growing area.
The dark purple wine opens with authentic notes of smoke, earth and minerals, black currants and black cherries, plums and mulberries, beet-root, wet fur and black pepper. These elements develop in intense and concentrated form in the mouth, expanding into realms of briers and brambles, with burgeoning smoke and minerals, leather and violets. The wine is, altogether, heady and powerful stuff, though chewy tannins and spicy oak — 18 months in French barrels, 35 percent new — are handily balanced and integrated. Drink now through 2011 or ’12. An eloquent, multi-dimensioned expression of the syrah grape. Limited availability geographically, so mark this Worth a Search. Excellent. About $22.