Secret Weapon Wine: Tertulia’s Les Collines Syrah

Tertulia Cellars is a two-thousand case production winery in Walla Walla. That being said, their facility is fantastic for a winery of their level of production. They have a bottling line that many other wineries at their level might only dream of. I’m not sure who’s bankrolling them, but whoever it is, they’re willing to shell out cash for some cool toys. It’s gorgeous, too (and the tasting room staff is really nice!).

While I’m not a fan of ALL of their wines (their rose is a miss for me), they make a lot that are frankly delicious. Their Viognier and Cabernet are good, varietally correct, and very enjoyable.

My favorite wine from them, however, is their Les Collines Syrah. It’s stellar. Good fruit, nice acidity, well balanced. But the best part is the gorgeous green olive note that pervades the nose and spills over onto the palate. It’s intoxicating in a way that has nothing to do with alcohol. I’m convinced that this is due to the winery’s practice of partially fermenting this wine with stems added back; I’ve found this element in many wines that either add back stems or ferment whole-cluster, including most notably Cayuse’s single vineyard Syrahs (particularly En Chamberlain). For me, it’s something that makes those wines memorable and captivating.

Les Collines vineyard seems to be something of a darling in Walla Walla lately. At least partially owned by Amavi , there’s a lot of interesting things going on at this vineyard. Marie-Eve at Forgeron calls it “one of the warmest, frost-free sites in the Walla Walla Valley.” She says that “Grapes sourced from here are for big, bold wines with very concentrated and dark flavors.” As the vineyard’s website points out, it is internationally certified as sustainable and salmon safe. Almost in Oregon, it is nestled in the foothills (which is the English translation of the name) of the Blue Mountains. Considering the freeze problems that Walla Walla regularly faces (such as the 2004 freeze that essentially wiped out the vintage for the valley), a vineyard that is relatively frost-free must be a draw for Walla Walla winemakers.

Here’s the most exciting thing about Tertulia’s Les Collines Syrah: It retails for $24. Yes, $24. And it is incredible. It is worth searching out, and that’s why it’s a Secret Weapon Wine.

Update: I’ve been made aware that Les Collines Vineyard is also half-owned by Garrison Creek Cellars , a winery of which I admit complete ignorance. I’m intrigued to try their wines some time, though on their website they don’t have anything listed past the 2002 vintage, and none from Les Collines vineyard. Hopefully they just haven’t updated in a while.