It's no secret that Washington State vintners make several superb Syrahs. But some other Rhône-style red blends and varietal wines are showing equally well from the Evergreen State. They may be a bit harder to find, but they're well worth the hunt. Here are some to seek out.
94 Gramercy Cellars 2010 The Third Man Red (Columbia Valley). With plenty of snap and sizzle on entry, this is powered with tangy berry and pomegranate flavors, bearing a note of sour cherry and dashes of pepper and rock. Cellar Selection.
abv: 14.7% Price: $50
92 Betz Family 2010 Bésoleil (Columbia Valley). Grenache makes up about two-thirds of the blend, with 18% Mourvèdre, 11% Cinsault and 6% Syrah. Deliciously spicy with cranberry, raspberry and other red fruit flavors, this tightly wound wine will reward decanting. Cellar Selection.
abv: 14.6% Price: $45
92 Nefarious Cellars 2010 Rx-3 Red Wine (Columbia Valley). Short for "Rhône times three," this blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah is a rich, high-acid wine, with zingy berry flavors and pleasant coffee-like tannins. Editors' Choice.
abv: 14.4% Price: $30
91 K Vintners 2009 The Boy (Walla Walla Valley). A blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah from the Armada Vineyard, this perfectly expresses Armada's characteristic mix of superripe fruit and organic funk. Cracker, berry, spice and earth components are all in play, but it definitely needs more bottle time to fully meld together.
abv: 13.8% Price: $50
91 Doyenne 2010 Métier Red (Yakima Valley). Consisting of 40% Mourvèdre, 40% Grenache and 20% Syrah, this blend's base is loaded with steely mineral and graphite notes, which underscores the tart flavors of cranberry and strawberry.
abv: 14.8% Price: $45