2004 was a year of many challenges. It began with a devastating freeze in January that
permanently damaged many Washington vineyards, particularly in the Walla Walla valley.
Fortunately, Rhône varietals are far more winter hardy than anyone would have imagined.
Most of our fruit was not affected. The summer was one of the hottest on record, suggesting
a very early harvest. But late August cooled and even brought some rain, which slowed sugar
development while promoting good acidity and proper physiological maturity. We had a
relatively normal harvest from mid-September through late October. The ’04 wines are very
promising; the fruit characteristics are similar to 2002 and 2003. We anticipate good
complexity and intensity, with even better acid and pH ratios than prior vintages.
Syrah is the eight hundred pound gorilla of Rhone grapes! In the vineyard and the winery, Syrah is typically an easy grape to work with - healthy, early ripening, resistant to mildew and rot; suitable for winemaking in a variety of styles. The wines from Syrah are tannic without being harsh. The wines will have a taste and smell of dark blue fruit like blackberries and blackcurrant, with a strong spicy side where one can find freshly ground pepper and other spices. Syrah is famous for its part in the French blends, such as Côtes du Rhone and Châteauneuf du Pape.