Cooking today for a dinner tonight, so the "prep wine" is the just-released 2004 Syncline Grenache Rose from Columbia Valley. Last year’s vintage was terrific, but I stupidly put off buying a case until no more was left in Seattle. Only a small amount is produced – 198 cases (if I recall) of the 2004 vintage. So find it quick if you love rose.
The wine is deeply colored, not at all pink but really a light transparent garnet. It smells of strawberries and has a terrific herbal quality on the palate, just like a good Grenache should. Basically, this is a Washington "Tavel," and IMHO it deserves the comparison. Syncline did something interesting this year and released the wine with "Stelvin" screw caps rather than corks. This is controversial stuff among those who market and buy wine, but I’m firmly on the side of the screw-caps. Sure, there’s something less than traditional about cracking the cap on a bottle of good wine, but the first time you open an expensive and corked bottle of wine, the argument becomes more than simply academic. By the time you’ve opened dozens of corked, expensive and hard-to-find wines in your tasting career, it’s hard not to be a complete convert. I don’t buy wine because of the sealing mechanism – I buy it for what’s in the bottle. So kudos to Syncline for leading the charge.
The packaging aside, Syncline has produced a superb and affordable ($13.00 retail at McCarthy and Schiering in Seattle) rose in the best style and tradition of the Southern Rhone. I recommend it highly.