Tough To Do Reviews On Friends
See!!! I am a sucker for Dimples!! Those of you who have been regular blog readers from over 10 years ago, you know that I have talked about this lady above Annette Bergevin AKA :Dimples, AKA : Wine Gal. In 2002 the shared dreams of 2 best friends of owning a winery came true. Bergevin Lane based in Walla Walla Washington. They highlight the terroirs of Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla and single vineyard properties. The Retailer I worked for then and now back again, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits carried at one point, 6 Wines from this great winery. In my absence for 3.5 years of working at Chima Brazilian Restaurant, They deleted 3 and were working on possibly a 4th on the chopping block. 2 that I had a tremendous personal passion for were both deleted during MY absence, The She-Devil Syrah and The Barrel Select Syrah as ABC as many retailers feel or get convinced falsely to feel that “Syrah doesn’t sell”. I have heard that for 25 years in 6 major markets. The truth of the matter is WASHINGTON STATE WINES don’t sell in most markets. My reason is not that they don’t sell but “BOTTLES DO NOT TALK TO CUSTOMERS” So they need someone to educate the guests. In all 6 markets I covered, my number one selling grape variety was “SYRAH”. Bottles do not talk but I DO! In Florida and North Carolina I requested samples of my faves from Bergevin Lane. This is the tough part of my job that many or most Sommeliers can’t do, and that is objectively review wines that are made by friends or people you just like …Reference: Dimples above! I however over the years can separate the two and give an honest assessment of the wines and also remain friends. With that said at Chima, I was sent samples of 2011’s Moonspell Cabernet, Wild Child Merlot and She-Devil Syrah. I ONLY took in the Moonspell Cabernet. I was very disappointed with Both Syrahs. They changed the flavor profile of what I used to sell dramatically. When I returned to ABC Fine Wine and Spirits they were on 2012 Wild Child Merlot (100% Merlot) which was amazing. 2012 Moonspell Cabernet which was Amazing. No Syrahs as “Syrah doesn’t sell in Florida lol”. Now we have 2012 Wild Child and 2013 Wild Child Merlot both vintages 100% Merlot and fantastic. The 2013 Moonspell has been well received by reviewers but I haven’t recommended one bottle in 2 years since to me is not what my guests or me expect from Washington State Cabs. Annette knows my opinion and Dimples respected that and we re still friends. I sell cases and cases of the Wild Child Merlot. NOW…just last week arrived at my ABC Location 2013 She-Devil Syrah. Persistence pays off as ABC’s Buying Team decided to give it another go. I haven’t recommended a bottle YET… cause I have to review personally every wine that I put my name on especially from Washington. So here comes the tough part! I have to review my Friend Annette Bergevin’s 2013 She Devil Syrah… and I owe it to my loyal following to give it my honest opinion. So here goes… Love ya Annette!
2013 Bergevin Lane She-Devil Syrah
First… after being with Bergevin Lane from day one Dave Harvey is no longer the winemaker for this family owned winery.
This is Sean Smith who was mentored by Dave Harvey and has been a Cellar Master and I believe will be do great things in Dave’s Footsteps as Head Winemaker at Bergevin Lane.
55% of the grapes used in this Syrah comw from the amazing Stone Tree Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope pictured above. 45% comes from Francisca’s Vineyard in Walla Walla. . 2013 turned out to be a pretty darn good vintage overall. Harvest started one week earlier due to some warm temps but things came back to normal. A well rounded vintage. This Vintage contains 95% Syrah 4.5% MALBEC (We will speak about that further in the review portion) and .5% Viognier. The winery is using whole berry Fermentation at cooler temperatures which gives you great extraction of the flavors and the color. Aged for 14 months in Oak with 21% being NEW OAK and the types of Oak used was 57% FR, 31% Am & 12% Hungarian (An Oak Goulash lol ) 14.5% Alcohol and they produced a little over 700 cases only.
Dark Ruby on the color. The .5% Viognier Co Fermented adds to the color and the aromatics. The Aussies love to blend Shiraz with Viognier. It works!. The nose was very aromatic of PURPLE… Does Purple have a scent? To me it smelled Purple!. Nose of Violets, Huckleberry, blackberry, some incense, lavender, espresso, vanilla bean and charcoal. On the palate a nice rich medium plus on the palate consistency with that juicy variety of Purple (Does Purple have a taste? ) of those intermixed berries, some licorice, bayleaf, coffee bean and exotic spices mixed with sweet tobacco leaf. It’s a well handcrafted wine and I will recommend it to a lot of my customers. Negative notes: I am a purist.. Syrah is a Rhone Grape. I expect a Washington State Syrah to imitate the Style of a French Rhone Style Syrah. I am not the winemaking team. It is their job to make the decisions of how to make the wine as it is mine to offer an honest review. I realize the dollop of Malbec adds to the color, the aromatics and spices as does the Hungarian and American Oak hence the dark ruby color and hence the roasted coffee bean and vanilla on the nose and palate. Malbec is nowhere in the Rhone and in my review it shouldn’t be in this wine and it would be a 90 pointer for me. I had to deduct 2 points for those reasons of the Malbec and the use of too much American Oak and New Oak in general I will score this wine 88 out of 100 points
It’s nice to have my old friend in a new style back in my Washington State wine section. It’s at a great price on sale for $22.99. It drinks way better than that affordable price. It is literally calling for Lamb Chops or an espresso/ancho chili rubbed Strip Steak. I can see this working with wild mushroom dishes, Eggplant Parmigiana, Chicken with Herbs De Provence and nice Sharp Aged Cheeses. I will tell my customers about this wine as so many palates will match with this product and try very hard not to mention bout the 4.5% Malbec added…BUT….. If It that does slip out….”THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT”!
Grape-fully yours, Larry
The Winemaker And His Owner
Dave Harvey And Annette Bergevin