2014 Proper, Syrah, $49.75
Winery info: Proper is a project begun by a group of friends from Colorado who shared a love of Old World, earth-driven wines. In 2006 they purchased an old cherry orchard in the Rocks District of the Walla Walla Valley, the region first planted by Christophe Baron, of Cayuse fame, and source of his now legendary Syrahs. The area is an ancient, dry riverbed, covered in large rocks, reminiscent of the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Proper folks also planted Syrah vines, with a goal of producing wines that are “Rhône in character while showcasing the uniqueness of Walla Walla and our estate vineyard with as much integrity as possible.”
Winemaker: Sean Boyd
Grapes: 100% Syrah
Vineyard source: The Rocks District of the Walla Walla Valley (actually on the Oregon side of the valley) on a site not far from Cayuse Vineyard.
Flavor profile: Wonderfully evocative of the unique Rocks District terroir, with savory, dark fruit flavors and notes of forest floor, smoked meat, and olive. Very lush and flavorful, the winery says it “has the potential to evolve into the most elegant and refined expression of our estate Rocks District vineyard to date.”
Production/Availability: 558 cases. It should be in good supply through the holidays.
Drinkability: Enjoy now through 2022
Food Pairing: Perfect for prime rib or savory dishes.
2014 Guardian Cellars, Gun Metal, $39
Winery info: Jerry Riener volunteered for several years at Matthews Estate, then worked alongside Mark McNeilly at Mark Ryan Winery where he began crafting his own wines as well. He officially launched Guardian Cellars in 2007, all while keeping his day job as a cop. This is the seventh time that we’ve featured this wine in the Washington Club.
Winemaker: Jerry Reiner
Grapes: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot
Vineyard sources: Conner Lee, in the Columbia Valley, and Stone Tree, in the Wahluke Slope
Flavor profile: This vintage of Guardian’s flagship wine is very smooth and polished, with aromas of dark fruit and herbs and flavors of black plums and baking spice. Balanced by supple tannins and bright acidity.
Production/Availability: 500 cases. The distributor is almost out of the 2014. The 2015 will be released in February.
Drinkability: This wine is drinking well now, but it will also develop for another three to five years.
Food Pairing: As always, this is a fabulous wine for steak or other meaty fare.