John Selman The Agency

The Wine: ’11 Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah, Columbia Valley

Tasting the mature 2003 Owen Roe Dubrul Cabernet reminds me of just how fabulous and overlooked our American Syrah is. Generally more approachable and complex, with slightly softer tannins than their Cabernet rivals, these wines can be the best bang for the buck in rich domestic wines.

The nose on the 2011 Ex Umbris is pure intrigue. You can sit and inhale this for hours. In typical Owen Roe fashion it serves up loads of berries with vanilla cream, pie crust made with hints of cinnamon, brown sugar and spice, subtle wood notes, and dry powdered cocoa on the finish. Think of putting your nose over a big helping of crème brulee, caramelized and topped with juicy dark berries, and inhaling deeply. When you roll it around your mouth, it’s silky and sloshy and shows everything you expected plus more subtle pie spice notes, and that extra dark Scharffenberger chocolate finish. This is just great wine for the price. Fill your glass, and grab a piece of cheddar cheese, or roast a chicken with a little olive oil, lemon and oregano, and you are set.

“Ex Umbris et imaginibus in veritatem” (From shadows and symbols goes the truth). David named this wine inspired by the juxtaposition of the burnt fire-blackened Yakima Valley and the lush Syrah vines bordering that stark fire-damaged land. Years after the fire, the grapes still show that hint of smokiness.

All Syrah grapes for the Ex Umbris are sourced from the Columbia Valley:

77% from the Columbia Valley AVA
Including: 15% from the Lewis Vineyard, 24% from the Six Prong Vineyard, and 38% from the Erickson Vineyard

17.5% from the Yakima Valley AVA
Including: 11.5% from Red Willow Vineyard, and 6% from Outlook Vineyard

and 5.5% from Walla Walla AVA’s St Isidore Vineyard (The Source for Owen Roe’s Lady Rosa Syrah)

Find It:
2011 : $27.75 from
2010 : $25.99 Wades Wines in Westlake Village, $28.99 from Total Wine on Camelback in Phoenix

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About the Author
John Selman is a happy real estate broker/realtor at The Agency. He is a refugee from the Tech World, incuding Big Blue,, CadData, CU2Americas, and a former Managing Member of Barrel Wine Bars LLC, Malibu Village Wines LLC, and WineProGroup. He enthusiastically enjoys and irreverently writes, about food, wine, and homes. He is passionate about all three as well as grapes, good renovation, architecture, his family, his very needy Bulldog-Rugby, and most (but not always all) of his friends. John works with his customers buying and selling normal homes as well as Luxury Properties at The Agency, and loves what he gets to do every day. In his free time, he coaches paddling sports on Tempe Town Lake, occasionally visits his favorite old ski haunts and complains of aches and pains, avoids anyone carrying a rugby ball, travels up and down the coast seeking out great food & wine, looks for water to paddle SUP or outriggers, and laughs at his dog.

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