There are now many countries and regions that can lay claim to producing some of the best Syrah in the world. For the most part the influence of the Rhône, can be found at the heart of so many of the styles being produced, like in Washington State where Syrah has truly found its home. It’s certainly what has inspired Matt Reynvaan to make the wines he does in the Walla Walla region.
You can come and see just what Washington State is doing with Syrah at its ‘Unsung Heroes’ tasting on March 10 where Matt Reynvaan will be on hand to show wines from his Reynvaan Family Vineyards.
Tell us about your winery and your background?
Our first vineyard was planted in 2005. We are a small family winery that produces Rhône-style red and white wines from two vineyards properties in the Walla Walla Valley. We produce wines only from varietals that we love and farm ourselves. From our first vintage in 2007, the wines have been remarkable with a consistent complexity, depth of flavour, finish and distinctive terroir.
Almost everything we do is by hand, planting each vine in the vineyards, trellising, pruning, dropping fruit and then picking and sorting the berries at harvest. It is a privilege to grow grapes and produce wines that we hope our customers around the world enjoy as much as we do.
How did you get into wine?
My journey to wine began with my epiphany wine, which was a 1978 Pichon Lalande which my dad had opened and we drank on the deck of the house where I grew up.
What range of wines do you make?
Our winery’s primary focus has always been Syrah. As the vineyards have expanded, we’ve branched out into planting additional varietals for both blends and bottling as single varietals.
What is your approach to winemaking?
My approach to winemaking is non-interventionalist. If I’ve done my job in the vineyards I can simply observe and guide the wines. With my wines, I’m hoping to convey a sense of place, and the distinct terroirs of the vineyards.
Have you changed the way you make wine in the last five years?
Because the majority of my winemaking is done in the vineyards, each year brings its own set of challenges. We are 100% estate grown winery so each year is different depending on what the vineyard gives us.
Where are you exporting your wines to?
Currently we have enjoyed success in Switzerland and Canada. And we have just recently begun a relationship with an importer in the UK, which has always been a goal of ours.
What are your best performing markets?
Our fastest growing export markets, in general, are Europe and Canada. Many people who taste our wines for the first time are surprised that they are produced in the United States, much less Walla Walla, Washington, primarily because of their similarity to wines of the Northern Rhône.
What perception do you find buyers in export markets have about Washington wines?
A common question I get from new contacts in the export market is “How do you make wine with so much rain?” They are consistently surprised to hear that in Walla Walla and the growing regions of Washington receive up 300 days of sunshine a year.
How do you go about raising your profile?
Understanding how to better utilise social media to interact with a broader range of potential clientele. Since our winery is allocation only, we are working to focus more on building recognition of the brand on a global scale.
What do you think Washington needs to do more to raise its image overseas?
Washington needs to focus upon and highlight the best wines and varietals that are produced in the state and carve out a distinct identity internationally for those truly special wines, not try to be a jack of all trades.
Why are you coming to the ‘Unsung Heroes’ tasting in London?
We’ve always hoped to have a presence in the UK and we were fortunate, recently to find an importer who we felt had similar goals for our wines.
Why should buyers come and taste your wines?
While having industry professionals taste the wines is great, we make wines that we enjoy with the hope that everyone else will as well. We feel like our wines truly capture the specific terroir of the Walla Walla region, and because they are estate grown, they are a reflection of my winemaking style.
What else are you planning on doing in London?
Check out the amazing food scene, and drinks at the Savoy for sure!
Washington State Wines Tasting March 10
The Unsung Heroes of American Wine is how Washington State Wine is billing its generic tasting on March 10. It all takes place between 10.30am – 5.30pm at The Hansom, Kings Cross Renaissance Hotel, London, NW1 2AR. To register click here.