The cork on this Barrelstone 2007 Columbia Valley Syrah was extremely dry, and on opening, the wine was slightly vinegary in aroma. After we let the wine breathe for a bit (about twenty minutes) we tried a glass. The first glass was still a bit like vinegar on the nose, with an incredibly deep crimson color. It was recognizably Syrah, but there was an interesting toasted grain undertone as well as the usual noticeable fruit quality; this time, mostly blackberry. It wasn't bad, by any means, but it was a bit uninspired, not as rounded and complex as I'd expect a Syrah to be. It improved quite a lot in flavor an hour and a half later; more cherry than blackberry, and the toasted grain quality was more like semi-sweet chocolate. It was much more like Washington Syrah, but it's sort of . . . unremarkable. It's not that different from any other Washington Syrah; there's just not much personality. It's that sort of stereotypical "fruit forward" that you'll hear about Washington Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, over and over. That said, I purchased this at a discount store, for $3.99, so really, I'm in no position to complain, but were I to buy this wine again, I might begin by decanting it.
Barrelstone is another Washington winery (in Prosser) owned by the Seattle-based Precept group. Barrelstone was intended to be a winery specializing in Washington Syrah. I notice that Barrelstone Syrah in previous years has performed quite well; given the surprising dryness of the cork (it crumbled), I wonder if I should try another bottle, as a matter of fairness.