Syrah, winemakers to take center stage at June celebration

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Syrah and the winemakers who create it will take center stage this June at Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine - The World of Syrah.

The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, which organizes the event, has released a few details about what’s coming.

Three internationally known guest winemakers, several well-known critics and more than 60 Walla Walla Valley winemakers will serve as headliners of the event that showcases a different varietal each year, the alliance announced.

This year’s Celebrate takes place June 19-21. One attraction this year is a wine panel of six renowned syrah producers. Rajat Parr, sommelier and wine director of Michael Mina restaurant group, will serve as moderator for the panel. Participants will be able to compare and contrast the growing conditions and wine styles of each region, and taste syrah from all six producers.

Panelists are: Anna Schafer, áMaurice Cellars, Walla Walla; Greg Harrington, Gramercy Cellars, Walla Walla; Matt Reynvaan, Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Walla Walla; Gary Mills, Jamsheed Wines, Yarra Valley, Australia; Kevin Sass, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Paso Robles, Calif.; and Pax Mahle, Wind Gap Wines, Sonoma, Calif.

Wine & Spirits wine critic Patrick Comiskey will return after last year’s inaugural event to provide an overview of syrah and how the local wine region’s growing conditions, winemaking styles and vineyards compare to those in California and Australia. Geologist Kevin Pogue will talk about the growing conditions and terroir of each region.

The three-day event kicks off with a vintage pour tasting of a limited number of Walla Walla Valley wines from the 2007 vintage or earlier. The next evening will feature a special tasting of syrah from more than 60 local wineries during a dinner with chefs Andrae Bopp of Andrae’s Kitchen, Antonio Campolio of The Marc Restaurant and The Vineyard Lounge, and Jim Cooley of Bon Appetit. Winemaker dinners throughout the Valley will take place the closing evening. Tickets for all go on sale online starting Saturday.

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