Gordon Estate 2010 Columbia Valley syrah

Breaking news: Malaysian government cannot find its capital. Asks China to let them borrow Beijing until found.

Does anyone really believe that a phreakin’ 777 jet just disappeared??? What are the common guesses on this bullcrap? Let’s see… (1) pilot suicide so he drove it into the southern Indian Ocean; (2) hijacked by a pirate without intimate knowledge of flying a triple-7 and possibly landed on an abandoned one-mile-long airstrip in Kazakhstan; or (3) entered a time-warp hole in the atmosphere and flew back to prehistoric Earth. Personally, I think one of the pilots was just dying to meet his Okcupid match with some sleazy Czech-‘ho’-Slovakian…

Odd news: That was some wine blogger party

Seattle Police queried this– “You know you are a wine blogger when: (a) you urinate on yourself; (b) you lose your pants; (c) you end up flat on your back; and (d) your skin is a Sharpie board full of ‘I suck penis’ and other similar preferences.” Although that sounds like Sean’s recent discovery of Oregon pinots, this was actually an incident with a drunken Yesler Terrace turdbake as he invaded an apartment on Skid Row and demanded his coat back from one of the residents. All similarities to Sean recently trying to get back into his shoebox flat in Wallingford after a recent all-expenses-paid trip to Walla Walla are purely coincidental. #Justsayin

Wine news: Author of Washington’s HerpDerp Wine Report Claims Oregon Wines Are Better After Stealing Cases Of Grossly Overpriced Pinot Noir. Wants To Change Name To Orygun Wines Are The Best Free Wines Report.

Seriously, are there any wineries still around that believe wine-hyping, nutless cocksuckers can actually improve their bottom line through childish and emasculated re-tweets like “Can (limp penis) rose wine make the sun come out?” No wonder Washington wines still do not command the broad, general respect like that from the Napa Valley AVA…

Speaking of headlines that really do nothing to improve your intellectual quotient, we replay wine terms that have no real meaning to the serious wine drinker. Only the seriously clueless casual wine sipper will be seduced by these worthless marketing gems, as it applies to Washington wines…

“Old Vines” Define ‘old vines’. You can’t. The term is not legally binding in the USA, yet time and again, cork dorks will confabulate this bluster in order to sell such labeled, higher-priced wines. Aussies and Californicators all laugh at Washington’s generally accepted definition of 25-30 years, and that’s only because a handful of varietals in a smattering of vineyards qualifies for this ambiguous classification. The mirage you will be told is that older vines “concentrate” the flavor for exceptional complexity not found in younger vines. Bullshit. We have tasted cabernet made from the oldest (1954) commercially planted cabernet sauvignon vine in Washington at Otis Vineyard. It tastes like… cabernet. Purely a power play that empowers the wine snoots over the commoners.

“Reserve” Okay, so some in-state Wine Quality Alliance (of which NOT ALL wineries abide by) set forth a definition that to be a “reserve” wine, production under such label must be limited to 10% of total production or 3000 cases, restricted to the greater of the two. Really? So… what’s the penalty if a winery violates this? Nothing. Nada. Zilcho. Basically, it is another spineless, toothless, looks-good-on-paper wine term that nobody pays attention to. Those wineries that use “Reserve” on their labels are generally relegated to the ‘old guard’ of wineries while millennial wineries will simply sidestep the issue and create their own label with some fanciful name and charge a little more for the effort.

“Made from the FINEST vineyards” C’mon, man! What else you gonna say about your source(s)? Does a winery really need to reinforce that hyperbole? The thought conveyed can be misleading. Take this for an example: Boushey Vineyard is known for the stinky syrahs that no other vineyard can reproduce, and can command a very high premium on name alone. But, here’s the catch, there are also recent plantings of syrah and in other acreage that may NOT carry over this characteristic. There are also other varietals, such as sauvignon blanc that are grown there. Boushey Vineyard is not known for its sauvignon blanc. Not yet. Does that still apply when convincing a fence-walking customer to buy your sauvignon blanc? LYYY-YERRrrrr!

“Estate” This is a carry-over from the Frenchies when it meant something. Long ago, wineries grew out of a farmer’s property. Those who grew wine grapes knew best how to handle them. Today, grape growing and winemaking are two very distinct professions. There are farmers, thankfully not many of them, who are making shitty estate wines. There are winemakers that make “better” wines from a farmer’s grapes than said farmer can vinify. To be true, it doesn’t happen a lot, but it does occur still today. “Estate” wines are a toss-up. Sometimes, it means a clearly distinct wine with unique characteristics that becomes obliterated in a multi-vineyard blend and is worth the extra bucks. Other times, it means the winery got the grapes dirt cheap and is charging more to maximize profits with no thought of benefit to the consumer.

“Limited” Limited what? Limited grapes and extra water added? Limited production? If I buy a bottle, will it then taste better or “limited”? Who cares…

“Hand crafted” This is not a painting. Someone had to press a few buttons in the production of wine. Funneling wine into a carboy is “hand crafted.” Gallo makes hand-crafted wines. So what?

“Wine club only” Very effective in signing up new members! What’s it mean? Generally, a small batch of wine made as an experiment that turned out better than expected. Examples: a Bordeaux-style specialist making a mourvedre. A blend specialist making a malbec. There’s something deeply attractive about obtaining something only a few can acquire, and if a customer really likes the lineup of wines, then natural curiosity sets in. This benefits both the consumer as well as the winery. The customer gets to impress Joe Winesnot with an unseen bottle and the winemaker gets feedback on whether the experiment was successful enough to warrant a spot in the regular lineup. Win-win situation here. Everyone walks away happy.

There’s been some hoot-n-hollerin’ lately about the wines of Gordon Estate (formerly Gordon Brothers). Historically speaking, they had a beautiful tasting room in Woodinville that closed awhile back but the wines were… how best to say it… unimpressive. Apparently, changes were made and definitely for the better. Having recently sailed the Snake River east of Pasco, these wines from Gordon Estate take me back to the ancient rolling hills void of any vegetation other than the endless rows of grapes that line all the way to the river’s edge. This is why (1) you have to visit the area where the grapes are grown, and (2) you have to enjoy the wines that are made only from grapes grown from that location. It is one thing to see soil in a clear lab-grade glass cylinder; it is entirely another dimension to actually see and smell and feel the land where the grapes came from.

Regardless of the imagery, this is both a great value and above-premium grade syrah. Usually, syrahs in the $15 range leave much to be desired, whether it is length, complexity or balance. Not this one. Also, there are more consumers than you estimate that “grade” wine based on the wow-factor of the label. This wine will be around for longer than usual because the wine label is rather plain. Too bad for those who pass on it to get that limited, fancy artwork $55 single vineyard Walla Walla hoofer. This syrah kicks ass right now! Whoever brought this wine to the party, I applaud you! Buy some more and open it for blinders every year. Guaranteed to outperform wines priced twice as much!

Excellent with pepperoni pizza.

Tasted at 56-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Regal deep magenta with garnet fringes, this Gordon syrah pumps the senses with peppery blueberry, beef jerky, and cherry brulee as it lays a soft carpet on the palate, leaving a calling card of dark berries, licorice, finely ground black pepper, sweet wood, sage, saline and Madrid chocolate. Pure. Unadulterated. Happy.

Alcohol: 13.9%. Columbia Valley AVA. Estate grown. Aged 18 months. Bottled August, 2013. 7% cabernet sauvignon. pH 3.81. TA 0.68. 1500 cases. Power: 2/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 91. Value: $30. Paid: $15. Music pairing: “Happy” by Pharrell. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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4 Responses to Gordon Estate 2010 Columbia Valley syrah

  1. csabernethy says:

    You’re finally stomping on a little bit of my terrior! I started reading this article with a little trepidation since Gordon Estate is ANOTHER of my wine clubs and I know the whole fam damily. In my opinion, Syrah is probably their best “every day” wine and it was a good choice for a “revisit” to their lineup. I also enjoy their other label, Kamiak Red and all of their red blends.

    If you haven’t been to their new “wine bar” in Pasco, you should try it the next time you pass through. The location is bizarre (Broadmoor Mall, where almost all the outlet stores have moved out and a local college has moved in) and next to a very large lower-end housing project. On the bright side, they are the only game in town! Once they got their feet on the ground, evaluated their clientele, and developed a unique and varied menu, their business has expanded and I believe they are doing quite well. Which reminds me – I’ve got to get back over there soon!


  2. wawineman says:

    You know where the good stuff is and walking on your path is quite exhilierating when there are silky little gems hiding in plain sight.

    Yaa, this is a superb everyday drinker! Not heavy on the liquefied wood, yet smooth and balanced with the fruit at center stage. Syrah for the common Washingtonian.

    Quite honestly, I cannot stand Pasco. Not when it is so close to Kennewick and Richland. It’s like the unwashed, sweaty armpit of the Tri-Cities. However, if you say so, I will stop by the tasting room and give them an armpit fart. …lower-end housing project… isn’t that practically all of Pasco?


  3. Andy Perdue says:

    WaWineMan: Your instincts serve you well. We, too, have noticed a surge in quality from this longtime winery, especially in the past 15 months or so.

    The vineyard out on the Snake is, indeed, breathtaking.

    Good call, my man.

  4. wawineman says:

    Mr. Perdue,
    This is one of the recent feel-good stories in the industry. A winery stuck in neutral reorganizes the game plan, then catches a swift tail wind to the next level.
    I swear, you guys in the Tri-Cities area have it better than anyone else for wine and, yes, you should not take a backseat to anyone from Woodinville to Walla Walla. I think the only challenge is you guys are too phreakin’ nice and humble, just like the farmers there.
    Just be wary… those dern Canadians might be annexing the area soon.

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