Trothe quickly built a reputation as a producer of world-class luxury wines. And the dream team at Trothe has done it again! The just-released Trothe Syrah 2020 is ready to join other exquisite Trothe wines on the world stage. It is impressive – classy, structured, complex and elegant, more like an old-world Syrah. This reflects how Trothe proprietor and fourth-generation farmer Jeff Andrews and talented winemaker Ray McKee worked closely on their Horse Heaven Hills vineyards with renowned French winemakers Philippe Cambie (a Rhône legend) and Michel Gassier.
The Horse Heaven Hills
Until now, we’ve mainly been drinking Washington Syrahs from the Rocks District and Red Mountain. Certainly, those two AVAs generate the most attention from international wine critics and enthusiasts. So, we were very curious to see how a world-class Syrah from the Horse Heaven Hills would show.
First, the AVA’s dry, rugged and windy landscape accounts for nearly a third of vine acreage in Washington. Next, the Andrews family has owned and operated the vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills since 1994, on land their family has farmed for generations. Located across 1,300 acres in the northwest corner, the Andrews Family Vineyards’ elevation ranges from 900 to 1,400 feet.
Further, that rugged landscape compares to wine regions in Australia and South Africa. But the average temperature and latitude align more closely to Bordeaux.
Finally, over the years, Wine Spectator named nine wines with fruit from Andrews Family Vineyards in its Top 100 wines list. This includes Washington’s only Wine Spectator “Number One Wine in the World.”
So, let’s give some well-deserved credit to Horse Heaven Hills Syrah, too.
Trothe Syrah 2020 Sneak Peek
We had a sneak peek of Trothe 2020 Syrah last summer, when we had dinner with Ray and vineyards manager Todd Chapman. “I love Syrah,” Ray declared, his passion for the grape evident as he told us about this beautiful wine.
The team planted six different blocks of Syrah across the vineyards, in both deep and shallow soil. “We’re trying to get diversity across soil types.” He fermented and aged the Syrah in concrete – a whole cluster co-ferment with 7% VIognier, a blend that contributes to the wine’s intense perfume and deep crimson core. Only 30 cases were produced.
At that time, Ray suggested we should not write tasting notes because this wine would evolve considerably in the months ahead. Of course, he was right.
Trothe Syrah 2020 Just Released
Wow. This Syrah is worth the wait. I can only imagine how incredible this wine will taste after 6-10 years of aging. It’s amazing right now.
Pretty aromas of dark berries, espresso and oranges lead into a generous mouthfeel, with flavors of plums, blackberries, blueberries, rosemary, sage and bright acidity.
Earlier, I mentioned that this wine tastes more like an old-world Syrah because Jeff and Ray worked closely with internationally renowned winemakers Philippe Cambie and Michel Gassier from the Northern Rhône Valley. (Ray has been called a protégé of Cambie, a Rhône legend.)
In 2013, these two French vignerons toured Washington state on the hunt for an exceptional site for Syrah, and finally selected Block 03 of Jeff’s Andrews Family Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills. For the next seven years, Jeff and Ray worked with them to cultivate and vinify this block, “yielding wines of phenomenal complexity, fine-grained tannins, dense color and expressive acidity — setting a new bar for this varietal in Washington State.”
“Today, we follow a unique and tailored approach in the vineyard: creating a larger shade canopy for the fruit to maintain lively acidity and elegance akin to Northern Rhône Syrah, without compromising the weight and texture unique to Washington State and Horse Heaven Hills.”
This is a special-occasion wine with a price point that reflects just how special it is. (A 2-pack costs $330, including US shipping). Moreover, the Trothe team wants people who enjoy their wine to be part of their story. So, you can only access their exclusive allocations by signing up for their Members List.
In conclusion, Trothe Syrah 2020 is exceptional, classy and impressive. It’s definitely a special occasion wine. For example, it would pair perfectly with my milestone birthday this year. Thank you so much, Trothe, for sharing this magnificent bottle.
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Margot and Dave