2006 Delille Cellars Doyenne Syrah

Year: 2006
Appellation: Yakima Valley
Country: USA - Washington
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 93
Wine Enthusiast: 92
Red Wine
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"This is beautifully aromatic, yet gets a bit puckery in the mouth, lacing its ripe blackberry and tar flavors with mouthwatering acidity. The finish makes it all come together, but this needs cellaring to settle into itself. Best from 2010 through 2014. 1,500 cases made." (WS)

"The 2006 Syrah contains 2% Viognier. Purple-colored with a brooding bouquet of bacon, pomegranate, lavender, and garrigue notes, on the palate this masculine, large-scaled wine is bursting with spicy black fruit and baking spices. Give this intense, lengthy wine 3-4 years of cellaring and drink it through 2021.

Doyenne is the sister label of DeLille Cellars and is used for Rhone varieties." (WA)

"($49; with 2% viognier) Blackberry, smoked meat and sexy floral lift on the very ripe nose. Sweet, pure dark berry flavors are complemented by a tarry nuance and lifted by lavender and brown spices. Sexy and spicy but not at all an oaky style. This very classy syrah finishes with superb cut, fine-grained tannins and excellent length." (IWC)

"A sharp, focused mix of wild berry, earth, pencil, stem, leaf, pepper and bitter chocolate, this blends five clones of Syrah from four different vineyards. It’s complex, tight and tannic, with a wonderful array of flavor components just beginning to knit together." (WE)


I served this wine to my Saturday Wine lunch bunch last Saturday and it was a great hit and surprisingly put to shame a couple of Grand Cru Bordeaux from major vintages of the 1980’s. In fact, one of the original members of the group, Bill Shapiro kept commenting on how exceptional this full-bodied Syrah was.

Interestingly I held a tasting/dinner of great Rhone masterpieces only a short while before and reviewed near the end of this issue of the Guide. This Syrah would have been a fascinating wine to serve at the event, where I did serve (blind) the $225 Napa Syrah Estate IX of Ann Colgin, a wine nearly 8 times the cost of this Yakima Syrah. Yes, the Colgin was somewhat more elegant and longer on the palate, but the wines were more similar then you can imagine, which is astonish¬ing when you consider the gigantic price differential.

This 2006 Syrah contains 2% white Viognier grapes, which in no way lessons the intense dark opaque purple color of this wine. The intense bouquet reminded me of ripe truffles, smoked meat, red berries and hints of lavender. On one’s taste buds of this very masculine full-bodied wine, there are gobs of dark ripe black fruit, especially cherries and to a lesser extent cassis with overtones of wild mushrooms, black pepper and anise. There is also noticeable firm tannins that, if you find a little too overpowering now, will soften within a couple of years and the wine will become more approachable around 2013-2014, improve for another 4 or 5 years and keep well until the mid-late 2020’s.

The regular price for this wine is around $45 to $50 with L.A. Wine Co., having it on special for under $35.

RATING: 93/94

PRICE: $34.95 ****bargain

WHERE: Los Angeles Wine Co.

Martin's Guide to Wine Bargains)

"Doyenne, sister label of Delille, is one to watch. They are producing some absolutely top-notch Rhone blends from the state of Washington: AIX, a blend of Cabernet and Syrah, and Metier, a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah, and this 98% Syrah blended with 2% Viognier. All of these wines are notably good and honestly, I don’t know which to say I like best.

The 2006 Syrah, rated 93 points by Tanzer and Parker, is anchored by blueberry, smoke and vanilla on the nose with the blueberry continuing on the palate complimented by dense black cherry. Much like ripe black cherries, it has a mouth coating sweetness kept in check with a bright acidity. The texture creates a length on the finish that begs you to take another sip. This is a wine I can get truly excited about.

Since this is a wine value blog, let’s talk about why this is a good deal. As has happened with many 2006 vintage wines, a great vintage was overshadowed by an incredible one in 2007. The ‘07 Syrah scored one point higher and thus sold out before the also spectacular 2006. This leaves the ‘06 sitting at the winery and distributors and we, the value conscious wine consumers, are the beneficiaries. I’ve had both vintages and I actually prefer the 2006.

I fully realize that it’s hard to call a $35 Syrah inexpensive but it can be called a great value. I’m going to be purchasing a few more of these to lay back and break out when I want something truly exciting." (Nickel & Dime)