2008 Columbia Winery Syrah

Columbia Valley, WA; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 12 Feb.  Also at Richmond that day.

2008_ColumbiaWinery_SyrahThe 2007 Columbia Winery Cabernet, although Drinkable, was interesting enough for me to be eager to try this wine.

I liked iked it best after 2.5 – 3 hours of air in a decanter.  At its best, the wine had flavors of blueberry, blackberry, dark red / purple cherry, some purple plum, dark spice, and funk, with a hint of violets.  It’s clearly WA fruit but it’s quite restrained and neither forwardly fruity nor excitingly complex.  If you have time to decant it a while before you drink it, it’s good for the price, and good with food.

My saved single-glass screw cap bottle was also tasty and a little more accessible, showing purple plum, blueberry, maybe a little tar, and the same spice.  The wine will likely age fine for another year, maybe two.  However, with its somewhat lean and not extremely complex character, I doubt it will ever be tremendously exciting.  Still, for the price, I thought it was pretty good.

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18 thoughts on “2008 Columbia Winery Syrah

  1. bin5

    There is some 2007 Columbia Syrah around. It is in both Kent and Renton. I opened it with some friends so I didn’t take notes, but it was very good and everyone enjoyed it – $6. Worth a try if you see it and from a very good year in WA. In Renton the shelf had mixed vintages together so you might want to look closely.

    Reply
  2. andrewshawkitch

    I got this wine at the southeast Portland GO last week and it was 7.99! Still seemed like a bargain for a decent-looking 2008 Syrah. It does kind of make sense as a food wine comparable to a white. I tasted apple as the most prominent fruit flavor, but perhaps I let my associations with Washington get the better of me.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Interesting, Andrew. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen apple used as a descriptor with red wines…particularly as “the most prominent fruit flavor”.

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      1. lim13

        Hope you found it a worthwhile read, Rondo. Now if Columbia can just concentrate on one label and a limited portfolio for a while. Seems Gallo might be steering them in the right direction.

        Reply
    1. lim13

      Another brief update on Columbia Winery from Sean Sullivan of the Washington Wine Report: “Columbia Winery is in the midst of a rebirth after the winery was purchased by E.&J. Gallo Winery in 2012. The winery subsequently hit the reset button, moving production to eastern Washington (though it maintains its facility in Woodinville), rebranding its logo, and accelerating its offerings to the 2012 vintage, which new winemaker Sean Hails was responsible for. Hails grew up in Canada and has had winemaking stints in Australia, Okanagan Valley, and the Niagara Peninsula. He joined Gallo in 2005.”

      I suspect we won’t be seeing many if any more offerings from this winery at Grocery Outlet unless GO has held back some of the previously released wines (which would not be unusual for GO).

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        The only Gallo stuff I see at GO is the low-end stuff. Their better wines, and the labels they own (Martini, MacMurray Ranch, etc) never appear there.

        Reply
  3. Anzyk

    I bought a bottle of this at the Corvallis, OR GO for $6. Nice, if a bit austere for a WA wine. The first thing I thought after tasting it was, “My daughter isn’t going to like this.” She prefers sweetish whites, German Rieslings and the like. When I open a red, she prefers them round and fruity rather than structured, so this seemed completely wrong for her. After dinner, I noticed that she’d finished the bottle. I told her I didn’t think she would have liked it, and she said, “When I first tasted it, I didn’t think I would, either. But it went so well with the food!”

    I think that’s just about the highest praise one can give to an inexpensive wine.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      The conversion of a sweet white wine drinker to someone who appreciates a food wine. That’s awesome! 🙂 And welcome to the blog, Anzyk.

      Reply
      1. Anzyk

        Thanks. She’s young, and still learning, but an apt pupil. I’ve been lurking here, off and on, for quite a while, and buying wine at GO for years.

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          You’re a lucky Pop. I have three not so younguns and I am still trying to larn um. It aint sinking in and at times I have to resort to saying, ” that isn’t swill going down your throat.”

          Reply
      2. BargainWhine Post author

        I would be remiss if I didn’t add that of course sometimes a sweet white wine is the best wine for the food. And ask, what was the food that went well with this wine?

        Reply
        1. Anzyk

          Sometimes it is. We’re particularly fond of a sweetish Riesling with a potato, onion and sausage dish we do. I’ve tried a few reds, but have yet to find one that works anywhere near as well as the Riesling, especially the Leitz Dragonstone (not available at GO!). We’re not sure what we had for dinner that night, but it may have been pork steaks with a reduced sherry sauce and potatoes and carrots.

          Reply
  4. lim13

    As I believe was briefly discussed in comments on your review of the Red Willow single vineyard Cab, BW…the purchase of Columbia by Gallo will likely mean substantial change. So I suspect we’ll all see the old labels in various GO’s. Here’s a link to the web site and the new label (which I’ve started seeing locally in stores. http://www.columbiawinery.com/

    Reply
      1. lim13

        I sure haven’t seen any up my way, b5. I suspect that now that the new labels are out locally, Columbia doesn’t want to confuse the largest concentration of their customers right here in WA by having old and new labels side-by-side on the shelves. Over the years, Columbia has been one of the most prolific local wineries in terms of label changes.

        Reply
        1. jwc

          This ’08 syrah is here in Tanasbourne at $5.99, some stores ie Fred Meyer, even Rite Aid have the old Columbia labels still…this syrah is selling at Fred Meyer for $8.99. Do hope to see some of the Red Willow cabs or Otis Vineyard reds down the road.

          Reply

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