By K.L. Riley
Washington State is the nations’ second largest wine producer behind California. Ninety percent of all wines grown in Washington come from Columbia Valley ranging from mass produced to boutique wines. One of the biggest misconceptions about Columbia Valley is that the climate is too cool and the lack of adequate sunlight might hinder a winemaker’s ability to harvest concentrated and well rounded fruit. Nothing could be farther from the truth, in fact it is the cool climate that provides consistent temperatures and even though the sunlight isn’t abundant it is more than enough to please the grapes.
Owen Roe winery (named after a seventeenth century Irish Patriot) is a prestigious member of the Columbia Valley family and they have set an amazing standard for how wines in this region are made and perceived. Of their sixteen wines produced I drank the 2007 Sinister Hand. Sinister Hand is a Rhone blend of 62% Grenache, 21% Syrah, and 17% Mourvedre from six of their vineyards in Yakima Valley, Walla Walla, and Horse Heaven Hills (all these are sub regions in Columbia Valley). When I opened this bottle I had the intention on making a full critique so I drank this bottle over the course of 5 hours in three different segments in order to get the most out of my experience. The first segment was how it drank for the first hour, second segment was after three hours, and the third segment was after five hours. I was astounded by its integrity , structure , depth and couldn’t help but come to the concise conclusion that this might be the best GSM I have ever drank from Columbia Valley. This wine paints a picture of elegance and underlines a feeling of darkness and exuberance. The bouquet is rich in dark fruit, pepper, incorporating thyme, Lavender, currant and plum. On the tongue a lot of these sensations and aromas are reinforced and open up with flavors of sweet plum and smoke. I also gathered an overall rustic quality in addition to a dark ruby color, long finish, raw tannins, and spice. Even though I didn’t get to enjoy this wine with food I would recommend that this wine be consumed with protein such as steak, lamb or chicken. Or whatever suits your taste and palette.
It seems that there is a plethora of new wines and experiences for us to indulge ourselves and this wine is a great representation of what good things may come when you try something new. I look forward to drinking all the wines that Owen Roe offers and hope that you will as well.
Wine quote of the week;
Bacchus we thank who gave us wine
which warms the blood within our veins;
that nectar is itself divine.
The man who drinks not, yet attains
by godly grace to human rank
would be an angel if he drank.
French drinking song