WWD: Brian Carter Cellars 2004 Byzance

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Our palates tend to favor Washington state Bordeaux-style blends … or blends from Bordeaux itself, especially from Medoc or more specifically, Margaux. So Brian Carter Cellar’s 2004 Byzance, a southern Rhone-style blend, is not a typical wine that we’d have with dinner (WWD=Wine with Dinner).

But we totally enjoyed Brian Carter’s 2004 Byzance, a seductive blend of 55% Grenache, 24% Syrah and 21% Mourvedre (a relative newcomer to Washington vineyards), the three grapes found in the southern Rhone Valley.

Byzance was made from grapes mainly from the Outlook vineyard on the Rosa slope in the central Yakima Valley. Almost black in color, the wine has aromas of blackberries, black cherry and spice. Deep and structured, not too rich, with well-integrated tanins, it paired well with lemon chicken, much to our surprise. Of course, it would have been a good match with some sharp cheese before or after the meal, too.

Our favorite wine from Brian Carter Cellars continues to be the Solesce Bordeaux-style blend, particularly the 1999 vintage. But the Byzance was a nice change and a pleasant surprise.

We also just got word that the new 2005 Tuttorosso (“Totally Red”) — one of Brian Carter Cellar’s most popular wines — is being released on Thursday, Feb. 7. This Tuscan blend is centered on Sangiovese with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Cheers!