The 2012 Syrah River Rock Vineyards comes all from The Rocks region of Walla Walla and was fermented with 100% whole clusters. Giving up massive minerality, with ground herbs, gunpowder, smoked earth, olive and assorted dark fruits, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant feel and notable tannin that comes through on the finish. As with the Rock Garden Syrah, it should have 10 to 15 years of prime drinking. One of the highlight (and largest) tastings for this report, the team at K Vintners consists of wild man himself, Charles Smith, and Andrew Latta and Brennon Leighton. Despite the rock star persona, when it comes to the wines, these guys are dead serious, source grapes from some of the top sites, and simply get out of the way once they’re in the winery. All of the single vineyard Syrahs are fermented with native yeasts and 100% whole cluster, and see an extended time in mostly neutral French oak puncheons. Starting with the 2013s, I was able to taste a few from barrel, and they showed plenty of fruit, with ripe, textured personalities. This was a hot vintage, and the style is closer to the 2012s than the 2011s. Moving to the 2012s, these were all still in barrel at the time of this tasting. As with most producers, these are a step up over the 2011s and possesses gorgeous richness while still showing the purity and freshness that’s common in the vintage.
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