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2014 LA SERENNE, Betz Family. Yakima Valley, Washington State

Bin:  666

Alcohol percentage:  14.2%


Washington State in the far north west is a strange and unique wine region, all the vineyards in the semi-desert conditions of the Columbia Valley basin, east of the Cascade Mountains.
Cool nights, poor soils and careful irrigation can make some refined wines, in the right hands. At the mid range they are often great value; at the top end only sophisticated producers (like Bob Betz) know how to make fine and elegant wine – as opposed to blockbusters that win prizes in the US but which don’t pass any tests over here. Bob Betz on his website:

“Boushey Vineyard, which has been the source of La Serenne since 2000, is one of the stars of the mid-Yakima Valley. Farmed by Dick Boushey, a proponent of Washington Syrah since the 1980s, this site has gained notoriety for its unique varietal expression and supple texture. The word Serenne is an affectionate name for Syrah in the local dialect of Ampuis, a town in the heart France’s northern Rhône valley. We find this to be a fitting name for our Syrah from Boushey, as it reminds us of the wild (or as the French say “Sauvage”), Rhône-esque character of the wine.

The fruit reflects the sum total of conditions here: location in the mid-Yakima Valley, higher elevation, cooler climate, soils undisturbed by the Missoula Floods, and Dick’s exemplary farming practices. Harvest is typically 2-3 weeks later than our Syrah vines planted elsewhere, indicating the uniqueness of its position.”

Grape variety:

100% Syrah, a quarter fermented as whole bunches, matured for a year in French oak (40% new wood).


Bob Betz was Washington’s second ever Master of Wine and is their guru for all matters of quality and reputation. He makes a range of very fine wines, although local demand is such that prices are often very high.

Old Bridge rating:

Mature, complex, spicy Syrah from the far north-west.


£37.05 per bottle in a mixed case of 6 bottles
£35.10 per bottle in a mixed case of 12 bottles