After a long day at work (lately they have all been long days), I came home and put together a dinner of baked Bratwurst and veggies. Jon told me I could open whatever wine I wanted, so I went exploring in the wine fridge and came out with a 2007 Syrah by Guardian Cellars.
Guardian is a relative newcomer to the Woodinville, WA wine scene, opening the doors to its tasting room in 2007 with the 2003 and 2004 vintages. They sold out on opening day. They have increased production over the years, from 300 cases to 5,000 cases in 2012, but it continues to be a labor of love for Jerry, a local police officer who makes all of the wine himself. His wife manages the tasting room, which closes down for periods of time when they sell out of the current releases.
Guardian wines consistently get high scores, which is no surprise considering I haven’t tried a Guardian wine that I didn’t love. Jerry makes several big, bold reds, with complex flavors that are nicely balanced and tannins that aren’t overwhelming. Each of the wines, while robust, is also smooth and approachable.
Although they have found success in their second careers, they are still as friendly as ever, giving each customer special attention in the tasting room and making you feel like a friend. They have decorated the space with concert posters, detailing musical tastes that are in line with Jon’s, and the modern style is trendy and minimalist without feeling cold. It is a great place to hang out over a glass of wine. And if it isn’t super-busy, Jerry will happily show you around the production area, where all the wine-making action takes place.
The 2007 Syrah comes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard grapes, and was aged in 75% new French oak for 18 months. It has blackberries and smoke on the nose, and follows with flavors of berry, wood and spice on the palate, with just a hint of that same smoke. If you can find a bottle, you won’t be disappointed. Wow.