Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Head Winemaker Bob Bertheau and his Washington team, along with Rhône valley collaborators, winemaker Michel Gassier and enology consultant Philippe Cambie, have combined their experience to produce two wines: Tenet GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) and The Pundit Syrah. Philippe and Michel provide expertise and use local techniques honed through centuries of experience with Rhône grapes in their birthplace, while the Chateau Ste. Michelle team provides expert knowledge of Washington fruit and the best in modern winemaking techniques. The combination of the two approaches produces wines that are balanced and vibrant and have a true sense of place. The goal is to break the old paradigms and have people look at Syrah and other Rhône varieties in a new light, leaving old prejudices behind. They share the strong belief (or “tenet”) that Syrah and its Rhône brethren can thrive in the Columbia Valley.
In addition, Gassier has crafted a companion wine, Le Fervent, from the Costières de Nîmes AOC of the Rhône Valley. Offering wines from both regions, the aim is to show their respective character and their common excellence.
The goal with these wines is to exhibit the growing regions by letting the opulence and vibrancy of the varieties shine through while maintaining finesse and balance. Rhône Valley techniques for managing vine canopy and cluster size in the vineyard, and minimal use of new oak, delicate and precise handling of the fruit, fermentation with stems and extended maceration in the winery all help to accomplish this goal.