Often wines forms The United States seem unapproachable in price. They look enticing and compel us to splurge. For these occasions and these types of wine it is the wine merchant’s job to inform the customer of what is hidden in each bottle. In this economy we want to be sure we are splurging on something that will vibe with our palate. Well for this week’s special occasion wine I wanted to talk not about Cali but Washington State and Idaho. Idaho? Yes, Idaho.

Coeur D’ Alene Cellars founded in 2002 is located in Coeur D’Alene Idaho just east of the Northeastern border of Washington State. The wines being made at this facility are vinified form grapes sourced from over six different vineyards in the Columbia valley of Washington state. Coeur D’Alene Cellars focuses mostly on the Rhone varietals Syrah and Viognier along with Cabernet Franc and the of course the usual suspects Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Each vineyard is different as far as slope location, altitude and ripening is concerned giving the winemakers some pretty diverse creative freedom.

We have the 2004 Coeur d’ Alene Washington syrah. This bottle was made from grapes sourced from four vineyards in the Columbia valley of Washington State. It was actually co-fermented with a small amount of viognier. What this does is bring a little more liveliness to an otherwise deeper wine. When you pour this wine in the glass for the initial swirl and sniff you will notice its depth right away. The wine clings to the walls of the glass but falls away gracefully. The color is deep with hints of light shining through showing that maybe some of that viognier helped out a bit. The theme of depth carries to the nose with yawning notes of herbaceous bacon and spice. These almost bottomless elements were aided by a long time on the lees (the website says 19 months). The nose carries over to the palate with the bacon spice. The weight of the mouth-feel is heavy but not overwhelming. It has a definite grip to it but the tannins are not going to take over any dish you might it up to. This wine would go wonderful with meats such as lamb or sirloin. If you are going to do a fish with this one it should probably be salmon and have a semi hearty sauce over it.

I kind of feel I have been a little poetic with this bottle. I must confess that syrah is probably one of my favorite varietals on the planet. It gives me everything I need. It is full-bodied but not so much and has a definite personality on the nose and on the palate. Syrah is that wonderful crowd pleaser that warms the palate of the full-bodied wine lovers and soothes the soul of the medium bodied palates. Even Pinot fans dig on Syrah for its similarities in spice and round fruit (especially Cali and New Zealand Pinots).

The Coeur d’ Alene is $32.50 and worth every dime. This is a great wine to bust out when you are having good friends over. It’s one of those bottles that are fun to share with good company over a nice meal. It will keep evolving as the evening progresses and stay with you from appetizer to entrée and even dessert. Cheers!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Elspeth on November 11, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Keep up the good work.


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