The châteaux and winegrowers of France’s Rhône Valley have built their reputation on skillfully blending numerous red grape varieties. And Washington winemakers use the same varieties to produce complex wines rich in earthy and fruity flavors.

Grenache and Syrah are usually at the base of these red blends. Grenache can give off aromas of strawberry, raspberry and flowers. While syrah can be compared to black pepper, smoke and earthy notes. The white grape varieties Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan and even Viognier harmonize with the fragrant aromas and rich colors.

Layers of red fruit and earth make this Washington Rhone style the perfect complement to a winter evening. Check out our favorites below.

Georadar Devison 2018 (Columbia Valley); $29, 92 points. Syrah makes up 57% of this wine, the rest being Grenache (40%) and Mourvèdre. The aromas are discreet, with notes of crushed stone, wild raspberry, dried grass and fragrant baking chocolate. Cherry and cranberry aromas give a sense of volume and density and coat the palate. Give it time to open, but it offers time and great value. Editor’s Choice. -Sean Sullivan.

Lydian 2018 G-S-M (Columbia Valley); $25, 92 points. This wine is made from 38% Grenache, 31% Syrah and 31% Mourvèdre. The aromas are fruity, with notes of black raspberry, orange peel, blackberry, plum and Rainier cherry. The plum flavors are fresh and clean, with a nice texture. Notes of coffee and spice linger at the end. It’s lovely. Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

Kevin White 2018 Red (Yakima Valley); $20, 92 points. Syrah makes up 45% of this wine, the rest is Grenache (40%) and Mourvèdre. The fruit comes from all the vineyards with which the winery cooperates. Boom! The flavors explode, with notes of blue fruit, dried herbs, orange peel and cherry peel showing a classic Yakima Valley profile. The taste is full, absolutely bursting with rich fruit flavors. The coffee notes linger at the end. Feeling simultaneously hedonistic and pure is downright addictive. But it’s the balance that puts this wine in its place. Wow! Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

 

Time and Direction 2018 Diamond Cutter (Columbia Valley); $30, 92 points. Although Syrah is designated as a red wine, it is made up of 95% Mourvèdre and the rest Mourvèdre. The aromas are exuberant, with hints of blueberries, raspberries, white pepper, spices and flowers, and show a seductive purity. The silky and fresh palate holds more than what it promises, while providing a real sensation of freshness. It is also a true pleasure and an excellent value. Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

Virtue 2018 Unity G-S-M (Columbia Valley); $24, 92 points. Syrah makes up 48% of this wine, the remaining 32% is mourvèdre and 20% grenache. With fruit from the vineyards of Vallula, Des Etes Long and Thunderstone, and using only second-fill, neutral oak, the flavors are light but intriguing, with hints of smoked meat, medicine, fresh parsley, plums and berries. It has a wonderful texture, yet is soft and velvety, with fine polish, structure and a long finish. It’s a great piece at an unbeatable price. Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

Diffraction of Cairdeas 2018 (Yakima Valley); $18, 91 points. Syrah represents 62% of this wine, while Mourvèdre, Petite Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan, Alicante Boucher and Cunoz make up the rest. A poppy aroma with hints of blueberry pie, raspberry, bacon, grass, stalks and berries that exhibits a pervasive sense of purity. The aromas of blue fruit are painfully pure. Smoky and meaty notes linger on the finish. This shows a significant residual force. Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

Kerloo 2017 Majestic (Columbia Valley); $26, 91 points. In this blend of 63% Pomegranate, 27% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah, the aromas are not quite ready to unleash their charm, with notes of dried sugar cane, stem, dried herbs, strawberry glue and white pepper at the top, followed by raspberry. The taste shows a lot of elegance, purity and detail – all characteristics of this producer. Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

Syncline 2018 Subduction (Columbia Valley); $25, 91 points. Syrah makes up half of this wine, the rest being Grenache (18%) and almost equal parts Mourvèdre, Carignan and Monkey. The aromas are exciting, with notes of blue fruit, smoked meat, strawberries and dried grass showing a pleasing complexity. The palate begins with a rather elegant and juicy taste, with lively, concentrated and pure fruit flavors. A long fruity aftertaste completes it. There’s a lot going on. Delicious with a roast pork loin. Editor’s Choice. -C.S.

Ott & Hunter 2017 Double Bluff Whidbey Island Landmark Series (Columbia Valley); $23, 90 points. Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cunoz and Cinsault are also involved in this wine. Light color, reminiscent of the cool Pinot Noir climate. Aromas include notes of strawberry and cherry liqueur, as well as pine and peppery spice. The taste is light and juicy and develops in the aftertaste. It is a beautiful and elegant offering. -C.S.

We recommend:

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Owen Roe 2018 Sinister Hand (Yakima Valley); $26, 90 points. Garnet makes up 55% of this wine, the rest is composed of Syrah (19%), Mourvèdre (17%) and Sinsault. Aromas rise from the glass with notes of raspberry, flower, white pepper and a slice of orange. Light and elegant red fruit aromas follow, tasting almost like a Pinot Noir. He has an attractive sense of balance. -C.S.

Paplow 2016 Bushy G-S-M Vineyard (Yakima Valley); $30, 88 points. Garnet makes up 57% of this wine, followed by syrah, mourvèdre and sinsault, in almost equal parts, and a blob (6%) of viognier. The aromas bring notes of black pepper, manure, flowers and an assortment of red and black fruits. Full flavors follow, with acidity offering freshness. -C.S.

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