Reynvaan Family Vineyards in the Walla Walla appellation was founded in 2004 by Mike and Gale Reynvaan. Mike Reynvaan is a Seattle lawyer with an interest in wine and the couple purchased 37 acres in the Walla Walla valley. They planted their first 16 acres in 2005 and have continued to plant parcels year by year. Reynvaan specializes in Rhone-style red and white wines, and acclaimed Walla Walla winemaker Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards was a consultant on their early vintages. Reynvaan’s first commercial vintages were their 2007s, and in 2008 their three Syrah-based releases earned remarkably high scores from reviewers, including Wine Advocate, which awarded the three wines 95 or 96 pts. Reynvaan also produces a white blend of Marsanne and Viognier. Wine Spectator rated the estate’s 2010 Stonessence Syrah at 98 pts.
Walla Walla Valley AVA likes to call itself the Napa Valley of Washington, and given the concentration of well-reviewed wineries in the appellation, the comparison is understandable. The Walla Walla appellation is comprised of 340,000 acres, of which 1,200 acres are vineyards. Walla Walla is located in the southeastern corner of Washington and it extends slightly into northeastern Oregon. It is named after the Walla Walla River Valley, and the city of Walla Walla is the commercial center of Washington’s wine industry. The city was founded in the 1840s by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a trading post, but as early as the 1850s farmers were planting grapes for winemaking. Prohibition shuttered winemaking in the early 20th century, but a winemaking renaissance started in the 1970s when Leonetti Cellars, still one of the state’s most acclaimed wineries, started producing acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon. Walla Walla’s AVA status was awarded in 1984 and today there are more than 100 wineries. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most frequently planted grape, followed by Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese Chardonnay and Viognier.
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.