Wild Washington Syrahs – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Wild Washington Syrahs


Gargantua cellar master Madeline Rausch (Photo by Kelsey Chance)

Gargantua is the syrah project of Josh Bergström, making wines from several locales in California, Oregon and Washington, sometimes blending them together. We tasted two vintages of this Washington bottling, all of it from Les Collines Vineyard, channeling the exotic, feral, spicy savor of that place. Gargantua the Younger (’17) is a bit spicier than the ‘16, but the spice is exotic as hell, licorice, olive, espresso, pine—one taster blurted out “Fernet Branca”—sure, why not? The wine’s texture, its quiet, mulled intensity of flavor and its warmth in a cool place brings to mind Côte-Rôtie. 

The ’16 Gargantua, also from Les Collines Vineyard, is less demonstrative in its aromatics than the ’17, its scent tending toward mulled spices, pepper and smoke, slightly gamey, dark and sanguine. With air, the wine goes toward cardamom and nutmeg, warm and inviting, with a silky, velvety texture that’s fine, firm and seductive. It’s drinking well now, for lamb. 

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Gargantua 2017 Washington Syrah

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Gargantua 2016 Washington Syrah

Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.

Patrick J. Comiskey covers US wines for Wine & Spirits magazine, focusing on the Pacific Northwest, California’s Central Coast and New York’s Finger Lakes.


This story appears in the print issue of December 2021.
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