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)
2011 : $27.75 from Northwest-wine.com
2010 : $25.99 Wades Wines in Westlake Village, $28.99 from Total Wine on Camelback in Phoenix