Monday, August 9, 2010

Dobbes - Fortmiller Vineyard Syrah (2005)

A little more than a year ago, Clare and I spent our honeymoon in Oregon, which catered to the inner foodies in each of us.  During one stretch of our honeymoon, we spent a few days in Oregon's Willamette Valley, which is home to some amazing restaurants (like the Joel Palmer House, whose menu features wild mushroom dishes prepared by Chef Christopher Czarnecki)  and some equally amazing vineyards.  We had a great tour guide in Mike Thomas, of Wine Tours Northwest, who took us to over a dozen vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms throughout the much of the valley, including the tasting room of Dobbes Family Estates.

According to its website, Dobbes Family Estate was started in 2002 and has grown into the fourth largest vineyard in Oregon with 214 acres and 17 full time employees.  Some of this acreage lies in the Rogue Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area), which itself lies within the larger Southern Oregon AVA.  The Rogue Valley AVA is the warmest and driest area in Oregon.  Thus, the temperatures are less hospitable to Pinot Noir vines and much more friendly to other grapes, such as Syrah and Cabernet.  Dobbes produces two single vineyard offerings from the Rogue Valley AVA -- its Fortmiller Syrah and its Sundown Vineyard Syrah.  (Dobbes also has an offering known as its Grande Assemblage Syrah.)

Clare and I tried the 2005 Fortmiller Syrah, which we purchased when we were on our honeymoon.  According to the Dobbes' website, this wine is a limited production wine consisting of 100% Syrah grapes, produced from three barrels out of the entire lot produced for the 2005 vintage from the Fortmiller vineyard.  The grapes were given a "pre-fermentation" cold soak for six days before the temperatures were raised to initiate fermentation.  After a couple weeks of fermenting, the wine was introduced into barrels of 50% French Oak and 50% American Oak to age for approximately fifteen months. 

The Fortmiller Syrah is a dark wine, with colors reminiscent of dark cherries or ripe plums.  Those cherries and plums are also very present in the bouquet.  And, as with Syrahs generally, this wine has a very earthy taste, with not only the dark cherries and plums present, but also a nice spice taste. This wine is definitely a good example of an Oregonian Syrah.

Now in its 2006 vintage, the Fortmiller Syrah, is $45.00 a bottle.  It is available online at the website for Dobbes Family Estates, assuming that you live in a state that allows you to ship wine to your home.


P.S.: We paired this wine with the New Mexican Green Salmon Steaks and Devil Corn.  The recipes for those dishes are in the previous post.

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