Vail Finds from the Vine: A Syrah for grills and barbecues |

Vail Finds from the Vine: A Syrah for grills and barbecues

Jarrett Osborn
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –Our five weeks of summer have arrived Vail Valley, so let’s get to grilling.

OK, we grill in the falling snow in January in these parts, but the rest of the U.S. seems to wait for summer, so we’ll play along for their sake. Big flavors, meaty and dark grill marks, spicy sauces – all these mean you need a big and spicy dark red to go with your New York Strip, BBQ ribs or spicy, soy-soaked portobello caps. Drink the 2006 K Vintners Syrah “Milbrandt”, from the Wahluke Slope in Washington state.

The Wahluke Slope is a new appellation, approved in 2006, situated in south-central Washington. It is a part of the larger Columbia Valley appellation.

Due to glacial melting and flooding, the Wahluke Slope is one big gravel and sand pit with awesome drainage. Coupled with a climate warmer than the surrounding area, this makes for ideal growing conditions for Syrah.

Big dark and spicy flavors dominate, with black cherry, cola, earth and bacon. Yes, bacon: a little smoky, a little meaty, just lovely. Aging in 30 percent new oak barrels gives the wine just enough oak, and the light acidity and smooth tannins keep it in balance.

Make a point of meeting Charles Smith. His Andre the Giant hair and low-key demeanor seem juxtaposed, until you hear him talk about his wines. Then the mellowness disappears. He loves his Syrah from Washington, and is one of the leaders of the state’s jump to the top of the U.S. Syrah food-chain.

Charles opened K Vintners in 2001, and quickly excelled with his array of Syrah and Grenache single-vineyard wines and blends. Charles is also the man who started the “House Red” and “House White” wines, cheap blends that taste good and drink easy.

The 2006 K Vintners Syrah “Milbrandt” is $34.

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