Wine of the Week: Blenheim Syrah ’09

Oct 30

A year ago I tasted the 2008 vintage at Blenheim, made by then-new winemaker Kristy Harmon, and was impressed with the quality and elegant style that complements Virginia terroir so well. Today I enjoyed the ’09 viogner, dry rose, and most of all, the 2009 syrah.

This is the most compelling Virginia red wine of the 2009 vintage I’ve tried to date. This is not a “shiraz” style wine; it’s a northern Rhone style, with garrigue, spicy cherry, white pepper and smoky earth on the nose; very different from the standard red Bordeaux aromas. The wine is 86% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 4% Grenache, 50% barrel aged in French oak; Kristy confims that the grapes are all Virginia-grown (the Grenache and Mourvedre are from a vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley AVA).

On the palate, the flavors are lively and bright cherry and spice, with a smoky oak complexity that grows with time.

While enjoyable now, this wine will be at its best starting from a year from now for 4-5 more years, and lasting up to a decade due to bright acidity and stelvin closure.

This is definitely a food wine; the aromas and flavors call out for something like cassolet, coq au vin or roasted veggies and roast meats.


  1. Nevin Terry /

    Glad to know Mr. Matthews is putting some serious effort into his project. Who knows, maybe Dave will become the celebrity face of VA wine in the future. What would you say??

  2. Richard /

    It would certainly be welcome, but I’d bet he has a full enough plate managing his publicity as a major rock star. Even though he designs some of the label art for his winery, he maintains a refreshingly low profile at the winery for such a famous celebrity. The good news is that the wines and the industry can now stand on their own without having to rely on any single celebrity.

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