Who: Fausse Piste
What: 100% Syrah
Where: Multiple vineyard blocks across the Columbia Valley of Oregon & Washington.
How: Natural ferment, barrel-aged on lees for 11 months in neutral oak.
Why: Luke stumbled upon this wine while spending a short stint with a small produce start-up. The ad on Craigslist had stated that they were looking for hard working and convivial people that weren’t assholes. He passed at least two of the qualifications. With his background as a wine buyer for Whole Foods Venice, the shop hired Luke to flesh out their wine selection. Harkening back to his days in production, Luke worked 50+ hour weeks (first world problems, really) buying, scanning and entering the lot of what this shop would sell. Part of this buying process included the 2011 Fausse Piste “Garde Manger” Syrah.
Occasionally, we will “blind” our friends on a wine. This is a process by which we bag a bottle, opened in a room away from the contestants, and pour them a splash. Not having seen the label or neck of the bottle, questions are asked of the drinkers to see if they can guess the wine. In most of these games, “New World or Old World” is the opening volley. Jesse incorrectly chose, “Old World” as her answer. In fact, in subsequent questioning, after New World was established, she chose Australia as the country and proclaimed that the pacific northwest was definitely not the place from whence this wine originated. Like many things in life, this game is hard.
While grown in multiple blocks throughout the region, the Garde Manger is definitely made in Oregon. It infers the best of Northern Rhone Syrah without the heartbreak of price. Ripe red plums, black pepper, quarry, cured venison and sun-dried tomato make for a gorgeous bouquet. The winemaker nurtured a dark cherry, bright acid and subtle tannin mouth from this Columbia Valley fruit masterfully.
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