On May 22, Matt Reynvaan joined Dr. Owen Bargreen (Washington Wine Blog) for a virtual "Friday Afternoon Wine Tasting," featuring the 2017 In the Hills and 2017 In the Rocks Syrahs. First, Matt talked about the 2017 vintage, a nearly ideal one for Syrahs. Then about the vineyards. In the Rocks is located near Milton-Freewater on a site strewn with cobblestones left behind on the bed of the Walla Walla River after it changed course about 15,000 years ago. In the Hills is situated in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, next to the winery, at an elevation of about 1600 feet where the soil is mostly loess silt. These differences in terroir produce different kinds of minerality in the wines. Then Matt and Owen talked about the wines. The In the Hills was described as being peppery, with briny characteristic and savory Unami. The In the Rocks tastes like rocks, along with smoke, dark fruits, barbecued meats and a bit of funkiness. The wines are fermented with native yeasts, enhancing the terroir driven character.
After watching the interview (which can be seen on the winery website), I tasted the two wines. Here are my notes.
2017 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, In the Rocks ($95) - Co-fermented with 6% Viognier, this displays a semi-opaque ruby color and smoky aromas of blackberries, mountain blueberries, Boysenberries, black currants and figs, with scents of crushed roses, pipe tobacco, charcuterie, herb garni and wet stone. The flavors are loaded with rich dark fruits that are intermixed with licorice, bittersweet chocolate, dark roast coffee beans and minerals. The wine intensifies further on the back with sensations of roasted berries and nuts, mocha, toffee, burnt charcoal and soy, followed by an endless sweet-dry tannin finish that is lifted by precise fruit acids. 19.5/20 points.
2017 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, In the Hills ($80) - Co-fermented with 7% Viognier, this shows a semi-opaque ruby color with a garnet edge and intoxicating aromas of of blackberry, huckleberry, cherry, plum, cassis, semi-dried rose petals, sweet tobacco, lavender, olive tapenade, brine, cracked pepper and smoldering spiced incense. On the palate, the flavors are direct and deep cored, infused with black licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and loamy minerals. On the back, the wine takes an elegant turn, with sensations of pressed berries, roasted pecans, mocha, toffee and fruit confit, augmented by touches of braised meats, charcoal and Unami, followed by a lingering dryish tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
Qualitatively, these wines are nearly equal, but distinct in their terroir. Lynn says both have the funk, but in different ways. We were highly impressed with both. The wines are available at www.reynvaanfamilyvineyards.com on the Pop Up Store for a limited time.