Another year, another challenge.
Each year for these Washington wine challenges, I’ve focused on an underappreciated grape variety that Washington excel at. The first year was Riesling. Last year was Merlot. This year’s grape is (drum roll please) Syrah.
Why Syrah? It very much fits the mold of underappreciated grapes. Yes, many hard core Washington wine lovers will regale you about the differences between the Cayuse and Boushey funk. But surely many are also aware of the following retailer joke: what’s the difference between a case of Syrah and a case of the flu? You can get rid of the case of the flu.
Syrah is perhaps well-appreciated locally, but Washington Syrah is still very much underappreciated nationally. And it does remain a difficult sell for many wineries. Surely certain producers have made their mark with the variety, but, overall, the exceptional Syrah that is coming from the state has yet to reach broader awareness.
What does this year’s challenge entail? Just as in previous years, the challenge is to drink at least one bottle of Washington Syrah per month. Already drinking at least one bottle of Washington Syrah per month? Well then drink two!
In addition to drinking more Washington Syrah in 2021, I encourage everyone to explore Syrah from producers and appellations they are less familiar with. The goal of these challenges is not only shine a spotlight on a particular variety that performs exceptionally well in Washington but doesn’t necessarily get the recognition it deserves, it is also push us all to further explore outside our normal comfort zone.
To take the 2021 Washington Syrah Challenge, all you have to do is say “I accept the 2021 Washington Syrah Challenge” either in the comments on this site or on one of Washington Wine Report’s social media channels (Twitter
). At the end of each month, I’ll ask what wine everyone opened up to keep us all accountable.
So here’s to the 2021 Washington Syrah Challenge! Who’s with me?
Picture of Red Willow Vineyard courtesy of Richard Duval.
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