Terra Blanca Block 8 Syrah washington 2013
It's hard not to be impressed by the almost North Rhineône charm of Terra Blanca's Block 8 Syrah. There's plenty of bacon and smoke, dark berries, tobacco and leather – and the intensity is completely inflated, yet with a sophistication rarely found in the New World. The grapes come from the Terra Blancas Estate field in the Red Mountains, and the wine is 18-32 months in french oak casks.
Terra Blanca Winery has been named after the white calcium carbonate that is so plentiful in the soil beneath the vines of Red Mountain. This type of land is often found in the world's best wine regions, and since Red Mountain was granted AVA status in 2001, anglers around the world have seen the quality the area can provide.
The owners, Keith and ReNae Pilgrim, bought the land in 1992, planted the first 50 hectares of vines the following year, and in 1997 they were able to put their first estate wine on the market. The family-owned winery is set in the rainy edge of the Cascade Mountains, meaning their 115 acres of vineyards only get about 16 centimetres of rain a year. The ranks are planted in small "blocks" of every 5 acres, and Terra Blanca grows both Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Chardonnay and a handful of other grape varieties. The storage takes place in custom-made dishes of French oak. Some of the wines get up to 32 months on tap – it depends, of course, on what is best for the wine in question.
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