Robert Smasne, the iconic winemaker who hand-crafts his wines in eastern Washington, recently won the Best of Show award at the annual Tri-Cities Wine Festival with his 2007 Block #3 Syrah.
Smasne, who was born and raised in Eastern Washington, and a Washington State University alumni, has been taking the local wine business by storm these past few years. His past experience includes time spent working at Amavi and Pepperbridge under the famed Jean Francois Pellet, as well as his years working at Covey Run Winery in Prosser. Most recently, before venturing out on his own, Robert worked for the Boyle family as winemaker at Alexandria Nicole cellars.
Smasne now controls several labels. His ROS company also produces Alma Terra, a project that I have written about in the past that celebrates the importance of Terrior. His Farm Boy label is a fun label that reaches out to the entry-level market.
The Smasne label is Roberts flagship. The wines that he produces under this label are carefully hand-crafted with the expectation of being world-class wines. It really isnt any wonder he won the top award considering his high energy and dedication to the craft of winemaking.
Smasnes 2007 Block #3 Syrah is sourced from the Lawrence vineyard. Co-fermented with Viognier to increase the suppleness and elegance of the grapes, the wine is elegant. It offers up soft, dark, dark berries intermingle with the flavors and nose of fresh-cut flowers. The wine shows soft, supple tannins that are balanced nicely with the fruit and acidity. There only were 116 cases of this wine made, so I would suggest getting some soon.
Robert also took home other awards, as well. His 2008 Petit Verdot took home gold, and he earned silvers with his 2007 Syrah, 2010 Aligote, 2010 Farm Girl Katlin Rayann White, 2008 Old Vine Cabernet, 2008 Country Line Red, 2008 Half Ass Red #2 and his 2008 Malbec.
I highly suggest you visit the Smasne Tasting room in the southern most end of Kennewick. The tasting room and wine bar is located near Bobs Burgers and Brew on Highway 395. Check out its website at www.smasnecellars.com for hours of operation.
Along with Smasne, several other winemakers from the region took home awards. Other Gold, Best of Class winners were Pend d Oreille Winery with its 2008 Bistro Rouge and Upland Winery with its 2008 Teunis. Golds went out to Brian Carter Cellars, C.R. Sandidge Wines, Chateau St. Michelle, Coyote Canyon Winery, Heavens Cave, Hoodsport Winery, Le Chateau, Market Vineyards, Martinez & Martinez and Patrick M. Paul Vineyards.
Congrats to all!
For a complete listing of the vintners and their awards, as well as information on next years festival, go to www.tricitieswinefestival.com.
Rich Breshears, the East Oregonians wine columnist, is a commercial photographer and marketing consultant for the wine industry in Oregon and Washington. He lives with his family in Kennewick, Wash. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.