September 6, 2006

The International Farmer

Who would you think grows the best syrah in the world? A French guy in the Rhône Valley, no doubt. The celebrated wines of the Côte Rôtie and Hermitage are 100 percent syrah, after all. Or maybe a bloke from Australia, where syrah provides the backbone for the legendary Penfold's Grange Hermitage? Wrong! It's a one-time potato farmer from Pasco!

Gordon Brothers1.jpg Jeff Gordon.jpg 02syrah.jpg

Decanter, the British wine magazine, holds a competition each year to taste wines from all over. And it turns out, this year, that the medal for the world's best syrah was awarded to a winery from eastern Washington: Gordon Brothers.

Gordon was one of three North American wineries previously named "regional" winners (the others: Ravenswood and Stags Leap), and was the only American winery among the 29 international medalists.

Jeff Gordon, who founded the winery with his brother Bill in 1980, started as a potato farmer with cherries, apples and grapes planted in the sagebrush overlooking the Snake River. He currently serves as chairman of the Washington Wine Commission.

Winemakers carry on about "crafting" wines in the cellar. Hooey. Farmers like Gordon know: it's all about the grapes, stupid. His 2002 Syrah sells for about $20. "It's a testament to the fruit of the Columbia Valley," he says.

It's not the only honor this week for Washington wines. Wine Enthusiast has put Quilceda Creek of Snohomish on the short list ("Wine Stars") for American Winery of the Year.

Posted by Ronald Holden at September 6, 2006 3:13 PM

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Hooray for Washington State ----- again. We have some fine wines putting us on the global wine map.

Posted by: Dr. Joe at September 7, 2006 7:58 AM