More Syrah, more Owen Roe
May 16, 2009 by Josh LaRosee
I’ve been on a Syrah trip for a couple months now for no other reason other than WA is doin’ it well. At this point I’m liking them big, earthy, and with a deep pepper effect. (On the other hand, Robert Smasne is making some of the more elegant and true Syrahs around right now with his and Alan Busacca’s latest effort, AlmaTerra. Read about those wines in the upcoming issue of Wino.) K Vintner’s Motor City Kitty is “in the lead,” so to speak, but I tasted it one hour into Taste WA and with Mr. Smith staring at my face. He’s a little taller than I, and though I’d put a hurt on him, I think he could take me. So, yeah, the MCK is ruling me at the moment. (C. Smith’s Royal City Syrah is ruling Paul Gregutt.)
The packaging department over at Owen Roe is cleaning house when it comes to package design, especially with their Ex Umbris Syrah. One notable trend that O.R. displays with this wine’s package is the no-foil-but-dab-of-wax-and-exposed-cork trend, which falls somewhere between “too cheap to cover the cork” and “too thoughtful to make you try and cut off your own hand removing the wax.” (Which, incidentally, reminds me of this.) Also, the macabre imagery and minimalist style lend heavily to a mystic that is both enticing and artistic. Does the juice deliver?
o 2007 Ex Umbris, Owen Roe winery (www.owenroe.com)
o Varietal: Syrah
o Vineyards: Slide Mountain, Red Willow Vineyard, Lewis Vineyard
o Produced in Sunnyside, WA
o Alcohol: 14.1%… or so.
o Price: $25.00
Eucalyptus, vanilla, smokey game. There’s subtle black fruit floating around, like a waft from a fully ripened blackberry bramble in the summertime.
Down the hatch: It comes off a little hotter than the 14.1% on the bottle, which knocks the balance around a bit. Subtle black fruit reduction but nothing close to jammy or what might have been expected from the nose. Acidic attack carries through to the balanced mid-pal but leaving not much more than alcohol for the finish.