I have been having so much fun touring local wineries this summer. I started over Memorial Day weekend with a number of wineries in the Columbia Gorge. I think my favorite was Syncline Winery, located on the Washington side of the Columbia River near Lyle, Washington. They specialize in Rhône varietals, which is where many of my favorite wines hail from, so perhaps that was why I was so enamored with them. Or maybe it was lying in one of their hammocks outside the tasting room in the toasty sunshine, sipping wine. Perfection!
Founded by husband and wife team, James and Poppie Mantone, Syncline takes its inspiration from Burgundy and Rhône varietals. Their first vintage in 1999 consisted of just 79 cases, but even today production is kept to under 6000 cases to ensure consistency, quality, and intimacy with the wine.
For our tasting, we were very fortunate to be served by winemaker James Mantone himself. His youngest daughter, Naomi, perched precociously on the stool next to him as he doled out each tasting. I studiously quizzed him on the wine and his style, he never knowing that I fully intended to include their gem of a winery in a future blog post.
I thoroughly enjoyed all of the wines I tasted that day. The Grenache Blanc and Rose were absolutely delightful on a warm summer day. The Syrah was sheer perfection with flavors of dark fruit and coffee. But the one that stuck with me the most was this Subduction Red.
A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Counoise, Carignan, and Cinsault, the Subduction Red holds its own against classic Rhône blends. Flavors of cherry and raspberry permeate the mouth with a bright, peppery finish. And it’s light enough to complement light summer meals, such as my Grilled Greek Salad.
The fresh fruity flavors of the wine are perfect with the fresh, slightly smoky flavor of the grilled vegetables and tart red wine vinegar used in the dressing. And the spices in the wine are lovely juxtaposed with the briny feta cheese in the salad. The two together are perhaps as perfect as lying in the hammock outside Syncline’s tasting room, sipping a glass of their lovely wine.
Get the recipe for Grilled Greek Salad here.
Buy a bottle of Syncline Subduction Red 2012 here.
As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.