Review: Syncline Cellars Grüner Veltliner 2013


An Austrian Grape Shows Well in Washington.

We featured Grüner Veltliner on the August 2014 #WineMuse podcast "Getting Groovy with the Next Hot Wine Gruener Veltliner from Austria" on Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine. We tasted a lovely Austrian wine on the show. As we were exploring what makes Grüner Veltliner special and how to pair it with food, I wanted to find a Washington Grüner Veltliner to compare.

Linda and I learned that there is precious little Grüner Veltliner grown in Washington. But we did find a Washington winery making Grüner Veltliner. Syncline Wine Cellars in the Columbia River Gorge AVA makes a limited amount of Grüner Veltliner.

You can listen to our podcast on Austrian wine and also taste along as we speak with winemaker James Mantone of Syncline Wine Cellars. My tasting notes for this wine follow.

The Columbia River Gorge looking west.

Tasting Notes Syncline Cellars Grüner Veltliner 2013

Color: Pale straw.
Nose: Delicate, savory, white pepper, dry pear, toasty, spicy.
Palate: Focused, spice, lime, fresh, savory lemon grass finish. Nice tingle lower gum. food friendly. Enjoyed with blue cheese spinach salad, fried rice, sautéed ginger garlic shrimp with red pepper flakes. Yum!

Day two: White pepper honey, and some funk to the nose. Savory, creamy, dry, tart spike, lime, unripe melon, herbal, acid. Dry acid on tongue, teeth and gums. Buzz-ow!

Thoughts: Intriguing wine. Paired well with green vegetables. Best with food.
Strongly recommended.

100% Gruner Veltliner
Closure: Screwcap
ABV: 13.3%
Production 315 cases
SRP: $20
Purchased locally

Syncline Wine Cellars
111 Balch Road
Lyle, Washington

About Syncline Wine Cellars

Syncline Wine Cellars is located in the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River Gorge is a beautiful location for a winery. It is closer to Portland, Oregon than it is to Seattle and worth the drive. James and Poppie Mantone are the owners and James is the winemaker.

Inspired by early efforts of Rhone and Burgundy varietals sampled from Washington wineries, Syncline’s first vintage in 1999, consisted of 76 cases of Celilo Vineyards Pinot Noir from vines planted in 1973. The next year, production was increased to include Columbia Valley Syrah and Grenache. At the same time they began working with vineyards to plant Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise and Carignan.

All grapes are hand picked and brought to the winery where they are partially destemmed, with a portion of whole clusters, into a variety of fermentation vessels. Fermentation in concrete occurs for all of their finest lots of grapes. Native or ‘feral’ yeast fermentations are primarily employed, though inoculated fermentations are used when needed. Each lot is foot trod (pigeage à pied) along with manual punch downs or pump-overs. Free run juice is kept separate for top bottlings. Gently pressed, and free run juices are separately matured in either older french oak, or concrete tanks. 

They have kept production under 6,000 cases annually to ensure intimacy with each barrel and every vine. They make truly lovely Washington wines.


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