Syrah is one of France's most noblest black grape varieties. This dark inky grape is known for its dark brooding color, distinctive and intense nose and palate. Here on the West Coast people will often think of California for Syrah. However, I will differ on that. Washington State, notably those Syrah vines from Walla Walla AVA, and especially now with the new "The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater" AVA across the border from Walla Walla, is known for some of the finest Syrah in the world, especially in North America.
It's been my opinion, Syrah grown on rocks aside, that some of the best Syrah has come out of the old vineyard of Morrison Lane. Long time Walla Wallans, Dean and Verdie Morrison planted their first blocks of Syrah in 1994. It was a four-acre block. Now known as their "Old Block Syrah," more Syrah vines would come, as they planted 2.8 acres in 1998 and a year later, 6.5 acres. Local wineries such as K-Vintners, Walla Walla Vintners, Bunchgrass Winery, and others have had great success using the Morrison Lane fruit, especially the Syrah. So, it only made sense when the Morrison family opened their own winery in 2002, and produced their own estate Syrah along with other interesting estate grape varieties such as Counoise, and Carmenere.
The first time I sampled Morrison Lane Syrah - 2005 was in June 2009 at a Vintage Walla Walla library tasting. A few weeks after that event, I made it a point to stop by the Morrison Lane tasting room to purchase a couple of bottles. Last year when Sean Morrison, Dean and Verdie's son, brought a few out of the library and was selling them, I added a few more bottles of Morrison Lane Syrah - 2005 to my collection. In January I brought a bottle out to share at a special birthday party for my mother. Oh it was so lovely, I am happy to say I still have a few more bottles hidden. At our family event, those family members and good friends, who are wine drinkers, made it a point to ask me about the wine in their glass, as they commented about how elegant and smooth it was.
The Morrison Lane Syrah - 2005 was inky, rich, and indeed so smooth. Ten years in the bottle and I expected it to be turning more into dried fruits, leather, but this wasn't the case. It was perfect for my taste. There was still the blueberries, licorice, and smoke hanging on with every sip, and the finish was rich, long and smooth.
Perhaps by the end of this year, I may open another bottle - - but this time I may not share.