Texas winery shines with Washington state Syrah

Todd Crowell of Spicewood Vineyards in Texas produced four medal-winning wines— including a gold  — at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition, the largest judging of wine in North America.

He won a gold medal for his 2012 Rosé of Tempranillo ($21) in the Dry Rosé category (less than 1% residual sugar), a silver for his regular Tempranillo ($30) made with fruit off Ron Yates’ estate in Texas Hill Country and a bronze for the 2012 Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

And while the 5,000-cases winery can certainly ripen Syrah in its climate northwest of Austin, it has purchased Syrah from Washington’s Yakima Valley for the past six years via broker Lisa Kendall of Kendall Farms. This 2012 bottling from Spicewood ($23), labeled under the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area, received a silver medal at the Sonoma County judging, but it did get votes for a gold medal.

The aromatic profile features blueberry, cherry juice and thyme, while the flavors bring ripe boysenberries and blueberries within a food-friendly structure that’s juicy and balanced.

“This fruit comes in so pristine that we really try to have as minimal human intervention as possible,” Yates said via email. “The fruit from this vineyard is remarkably as close to perfect as you can get almost every year. We grow Syrah on our estate vineyard, but we still buy this fruit every year because we love it so much. Keep it up Washington!”

Spicewood also bottles Grenache, Touriga and Zinfandel as single red varieties, and Crowell’s array of white wines includes Albarino, Riesling, Roussanne and Verdelho. The wines are available via Spicewood’s online portal.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 150 cases

Alcohol: 14.1%

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