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Wines $20 to $40

A Pair of Good Washington Syrahs

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This is just a head's-up on a couple of Washington wines that arrived too late for the March column, but that certainly deserve mentioning. And buying, for that matter. And then serving, maybe with Bruce Aidells's Green Olive and Lemon Crusted Leg of Lamb (I suggested a Napa Cabernet blend with this recipe originally, but I think either of these Syrahs would be super with it, too). 

2006 Dusted Valley Vintners Walla Walla Valley Syrah ($28) Lots of Northern Rhône Syrah characteristics here, with peppercorns and game on the nose and savory, peppery berry fruit lifted by truly refreshing acidity. It's got attitude—sort of like a short, wiry guy who gets into fights with everyone but you, because you happen to be his friend. I actually preferred this wine to Dusted Valley's more expensive and more powerful Reserve bottling. 

2003 Forgeron Cellars Columbia Valley Syrah ($30) This is bigger and darker than the Dusted Valley, but not so big and dark that it becomes troll-like, if a wine can be considered troll-like. In other words, it's balanced—a testimony to winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla's skill. Dense coffee-mocha aromas, very enticing; luscious dark fruit with a roast-meat edge to it. "A bear-hunting wine," to borrow a phrase from Cab Franc maestro John Skupny—about whom, more tomorrow.

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