Ben O’Donnell, Wine Spectator, March 31st 2017

Rocks Stars, The Reynvaan family is making top Syrahs from distinctive soils

A singular American winery began with a common American disappointment when Matt Reynvaan dropped out of college in 2004 and moved back in with his parents. Mike and Gale Reynvaan had recently made a second home in Walla Walla, Wash., and Matt took a job at the Walla Walla Country Club, training to be an assistant golf pro. His wholly unexpected path to wine would begin on this terrain.

Walla Walla, secluded in the southeastern pocket of the state, was notably lacking in the typical enticements for a 21-year-old. It is five hours0 drive from Seattle, four from Boise. Beyond the town limits, it’s desert all the way out – a patchwork of dirt, alfalfa and wheat, stalked by elk and cougars, harassed by frost and fires. “Cowboy country”, says Matt.

But it’s the sort of place in which strong grapevines are forged – and in which a rootless twentysomething could find his calling on a tractor and craft a world-beating red wine after just a handful of vintages’ experience.

Six years after Matt washed up in Walla Walla, he would confront the 2010 vintage at the helm of the young Reynvaan Family Wines. It was the winery’s fourth crop, and the first Matt vinified under its own roof. Then 27, Matt was working well into the night tending the vats, usually alone.

But with 2010, Reynaan’s Stonessence Syrah earned 98 points, “classic” quality on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale. Reynvaan has never failed to earn at least one classic rating (95 points or higher) in every vintage since. The 2013 In The Rocks Syrah (97, $70) notched the No. 13 spot in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2016.

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Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator Insider, April 27th 2016

Syrah Walla Walla Valley In The Rocks, In The Rocks Vineyard 2013

Supple and expressive, this opens up like a giant flower, spreading the dark plum, blackberry, crème fraîche and spice flavors throughout the seamless whole. The finish sails on against barely noticeable tannins. Has tremendous power but feels like it’s floating. Drink now through 2025. (97 pts)

Hilary Sims, Wine Spectator, April 2016

A Perfect Match, Rack of Lamb with Syrah by Wolfgang Puck

Puck pairs the bold-flavored dish with Reynvaan Syrah Walla Walla Valley In The Rocks In The Rocks Vineyard 2012, from Washington; it reminds him of the Châteauneufs he admired at Le Baumanière. “You get this black pepper, earthy stone flavor.” Puck notes. “I think it marries very well with lamb.”

Eric Asimov, NY Times, March 17 2016

10 Top Washington Syrahs

No. 2 among our top 10, the 2013 In the Rocks Vineyard from Reynvaan, had the most pronounced northern Rhône qualities in our tasting. It was smoky, meaty and floral, juicy rather than heavy, and delicious to drink now.

★★★ Reynvaan Walla Walla Syrah In the Rocks Vineyard 2013

Old World style, with smoky, meaty, floral aromas; juicy and compelling.

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Karen Macneil, Wine Speed, February 26 2016

2014 Syrah Foothills Reserve

If I had tasted this wine blind, I would have guessed that it was an expensive Côte-Rôtie from the Rhône Valley of France. The wild, surging blackness of it was an invitation into something deeply primordial. But it also swirled with minerals and a salty/peppery texture that was simply and startlingly delicious. It is probably no news that Washington State makes good syrah. But it is news just how incredibly good the state’s syrahs have become. (95 Points)

Wine Advocate Review, June 29th 2015

Both 2012 and 2013 are great vintages for Matt Reynvaan and this estate continues to produce thrillingly perfumed complex and layered wines that compete with the best wines in Washington… A Cuvee readers need to check out is the new Cabernet Sauvignon, The Classic, which comes from The Vineyard in the Rocks. It’s a killer bottle of wine.

2012 Wines

  • “Possibly the greatest wine ever for this estate, the 2012 Syrah Stonessence could merit a three-digit score in a few years. Made from 100% Syrah from their estate vineyard in The Rocks region of Walla Walla. This terroir always yields a perfumed gamey complexity and this beauty doesn’t disappoint, with loads of cassis, smoked meats, olive tapenade, violets and lavender are literally soaring from the glass. The palate doesn’t disappoint either; it has a full-bodied, seamless, perfectly balanced and layered with a stacked mid-palate and awesome finish. Give this insanely good Syrah 2-3 years and enjoy through 2027.” (98 pts)
  • “The most northern-Rhone like in the lineup, the 2012 Syrah Foothills Reserve has a Cote Rotie-like (Jamet-like, to be exact) perfume of black raspberry violets white pepper olive and gamey nuances. This gives way to a full-bodied elegant and seamless Syrah that has beautiful mid-depth, fine tannin and a great finish. A blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier, it’s a stunning Syrah from Walla Walla that will have 15+ years of longevity.” (97 pts)
  • “A classic Rocks Syrah, the 2012 Syrah, The Contender, is a deep, rich, full-bodied beauty that boasts terrific notes of ripe plums, blackberries, trifle and wild herbs. Incorporating 3% Marsanne (which also give the texture some oomph), it has a big layered seamless texture, no hard edges and sweet tannin. (96 pts) The inaugural vintage of the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, The Classic, is a sensational effort that offers rocking richness and depth without ever coming across as heavy or cumbersome. Plum, cassis, damp earth, tobacco leaf and olive tapenade all show in this full-bodied, layered, beautifully textured Cabernet.” (95 pts)
  • “Another Cote Rotie look alike, the 2012 Syrah In The Hills comes all from The Foothills in the Sun Vineyard which is planted around the estate, and is an incredible Syrah that is up with the top efforts from this great vintage. Pure, full-bodied, utterly seamless and with sweet tannin, it offers a kaleidoscope of black raspberry, olive, mint, game and peppery herbed aromas and flavors.” (95 pts)

 2013 Wines

  • “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, The Classic, comes from vines planted in 2008 and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in 40% new oak, it sports an inky purple color to go with awesome notes of cassis, jammy blackberries, wild herbs and graphite. Full-bodied, fresh and elegant, yet with rocking concentration, this is a serious Cabernet that has the class to drink nicely in its youth, yet the balance, depth and structure to evolve for upward of two decades.” (94-96 pts)
  • “The 2013 Syrah Foothills Reserve offers lots of black raspberry, cracked pepper, graphite and dried violet characteristics to go with the full-bodied seamless concentration profile of the palate. This is a thrilling Syrah that does everything right and while it has the fruit and texture to drink nicely now, it will continue to knock your socks off for another 10-12 years.” (95 pts)
  • “Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2013 Syrah In the Hills, is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier and is only the second vintage of this Cuvee which was first made in 2012. Sporting a distinctly northern-room style in its peppery herb, olive tapenade, violet and spice filled bouquet; this beauty is medium to full-bodied, elegant and layered with striking purity of fruit. Reminding me of a quality, Cote Rotie, enjoy this beauty over the coming decade.” (94 pts)
  • “A co-fermented blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier, the 2013 Syrah In the Rocks which saw 25% new oak is another pretty, layered medium to full-bodied and elegant 2013 that has perfumed raspberry, peppered dried herbs, and assorted floral aromas and flavors. Juicy and lively, with good acidity, should be approachable on release and have 10-12 years overall longevity.” (92-95 pts)
  • “The 2013 Syrah Stonessence saw only 5% stem inclusion to go with a similar elevage as the ‘12. It’s still full of life and body and concentrated, however, it offers a classic blackberry, big minerality, cracked pepper, and some Cornas-like iron and bloody notes. Shining for its complexity and elegance it should merit a score on the upper end of this range if it puts on weight in bottle.” (93-96 pts)

Wine Spectator, December 31st 2013

2010 Wines

“Reynvaan is a rising star. The Stonessence Syrah was Washington’s wine of the vintage in 2010, an impressive feat for a producer that made its first wines in 2007. Founders Mike and Gale Reynvaan grow Syrah in two vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. This bottling comes from their In The Rocks vineyard, which features stony soils. The Reynvaan’s son, Matt, makes the wines with the help of Christophe Baron.” 2010 Syrah (98 pts).


Highly Recommended

2012 Syrah Walla Walla Valley, Foothills in the Sun Vineyard

Plush and expressive, dripping with blueberry, plum and cream flavors, this features a savory aromatic note of river rock and white pepper on the long seamless finish.  Not a huge wine, but fleshy and seductive.  A subtle hit of mineral wakes things up on the coda.  Drink now through 2022.  260 cases made.  96 points.

2010 Stonessence Syrah – #11 Wine of the Year, Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2013

Polished, plush, round and deeply expressive, this Syrah pulses with purple plum, black currant, wild blueberry, clotted cream and exotic spice flavors that mingle effortlessly and seamlessly. The finish sails on against fine tannins. Drink now through 2025.

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Wine Advocate Reviews: 2008 Wines Get Scores from Parker of 96 and 95

Reynvaan Family Vineyards received an extraordinary score of 96  points for our 2008 The Unnamed Syrah, while The Contender and In The Rocks each received scores of 95  from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate!!

The 2008 Unnamed Syrah is blended with 10% Viognier and displays Cote-Rotie like scents, an elegant personality, refined tannins, and impeccable balance. This already complex effort should drink well for at least a decade. All of the Syrahs spent 18 months in barrel with approximately 15% (or less) new oak.

The 2008 In the Rocks with 6% Viognier and 2% Marsanne, gives up alluring notes of roasted meat, bacon, pepper, lavender, and blueberry. Beautifully proportioned, precise and lengthy, this pleasure-bent offering will evolve for 2-3 years and drink well through 2023. All of the Syrahs spent 18 months in barrel with approximately 15% (or less) new oak.

The 2008 The Contender with 4% Viognier and 4% Marsanne, displays the most finesse. Elegant, refined, succulent and impossible to resist, it, too, should evolve gracefully and drink well through 2023. All of the Syrahs spent 18 months in barrel with approximately 15% (or less) new oak.