Charles Smith

Royal City Washington Syrah

9.3167 ratings
9.235 pro ratings
Washington, USA
Syrah
Lamb
Top Notes For
Shay A
9.4

I’m between a 94 and 95 here. I think this is slightly better than the 2010 I opened two years ago in that this showed more classical funk and savory notes.

I gave this an hour of slow ox and then decanted another 2+hrs. At pop and pour, not very expressive. Even after the hour of being open in the bottle it made such a difference and then absolutely exploded in the decanter. Floral, violets, potpourri, herbal spice, stemmy underripe black fruits all on the nose. Gained a touch of Syrah funk the longer it was open but stayed more between the fruit and stem inclusion side instead of going full on iron/smoked meat. So much up front fruit on the palate before a wall of mineral hits and takes everything down the mid palate on a wild ride. Peppercorn crusted black cherries, dark red and black berries, underripe red plum and really nice acidity to give it a nervy type profile. Alongside the 2014 Horsepower Tribe Syrah, this was more a caged animal yet still retained a wild factor. Then again, most wines are tame compared to Horsepower (just give them time...I’ve experienced how incredible they can be with age)!

I’m between a 94 and 95 here. I think this is slightly better than the 2010 I opened two years ago in that this showed more classical funk and savory notes.

I gave this an hour of slow ox and then decanted another 2+hrs. At pop and pour, not very expressive. Even after the hour of being open in the bottle it made such a difference and then absolutely exploded in the decanter. Floral, violets, potpourri, herbal spice, stemmy underripe black fruits all on the nose. Gained a touch of Syrah funk the longer it was open but stayed more between the fruit and stem inclusion side instead of going full on iron/smoked meat. So much up front fruit on the palate before a wall of mineral hits and takes everything down the mid palate on a wild ride. Peppercorn crusted black cherries, dark red and black berries, underripe red plum and really nice acidity to give it a nervy type profile. Alongside the 2014 Horsepower Tribe Syrah, this was more a caged animal yet still retained a wild factor. Then again, most wines are tame compared to Horsepower (just give them time...I’ve experienced how incredible they can be with age)!

May 1st, 2021
Austin Hohnke

Some great fruit from the Stoneridge Vineyard. Four hours of air did the trick. Refined and polished with olives, wild raspberry, and a bit of camphor. The oak is abundant but well integrated showing suave vanilla aromas. Cola. Wears the 14.5% abv well. A great pairing with beef bourguignon. Think this would wear a $60 price tag a bit more easily.

Some great fruit from the Stoneridge Vineyard. Four hours of air did the trick. Refined and polished with olives, wild raspberry, and a bit of camphor. The oak is abundant but well integrated showing suave vanilla aromas. Cola. Wears the 14.5% abv well. A great pairing with beef bourguignon. Think this would wear a $60 price tag a bit more easily.

Feb 23rd, 2021
Shay A
9.4

This was one of my contributions from Friday evening. I slow oxed this for 4hrs prior to serving at the recommendation of @Bill Bender ...glad I took that advice. Wasn’t so shocked at how powerful this was as I was how it was still tightly wound. The fruit is coming from the “funk” part of the region (not sure if it’s Rocks district or not), and while there is some herbal and savory notes up front, there is plenty of fruit (albeit underripe)...blackberry, black cherry and smoked plum on the nose. Great acidity. The mid palate has a streak of herbs de Provence down the middle wrapped in inky dark fruit before turning more savory (roasted game meat-like) at the finish, but not funky/iron driven like I get with Cayuse.

This was one of my contributions from Friday evening. I slow oxed this for 4hrs prior to serving at the recommendation of @Bill Bender ...glad I took that advice. Wasn’t so shocked at how powerful this was as I was how it was still tightly wound. The fruit is coming from the “funk” part of the region (not sure if it’s Rocks district or not), and while there is some herbal and savory notes up front, there is plenty of fruit (albeit underripe)...blackberry, black cherry and smoked plum on the nose. Great acidity. The mid palate has a streak of herbs de Provence down the middle wrapped in inky dark fruit before turning more savory (roasted game meat-like) at the finish, but not funky/iron driven like I get with Cayuse.

May 26th, 2019
Dr. Owen Bargreen

Sourced from the northern block of the Northridge Vineyard the 2015 Royal City Syrah opens to a beautiful aromatic range which includes nuances of blood orange, black olive tapenade, black tea and charcuterie. The mouthfeel is plush, as this unveils flavors of wild blackberry, raw meat, green olive and smoked brisket which persist through the finish. The weight is not quite what it has been in recent vintages, but nonetheless this is a seriously impressive Syrah which should go on to evolve nicely over the course of the next decade. Drink 2019-2026- 93

Sourced from the northern block of the Northridge Vineyard the 2015 Royal City Syrah opens to a beautiful aromatic range which includes nuances of blood orange, black olive tapenade, black tea and charcuterie. The mouthfeel is plush, as this unveils flavors of wild blackberry, raw meat, green olive and smoked brisket which persist through the finish. The weight is not quite what it has been in recent vintages, but nonetheless this is a seriously impressive Syrah which should go on to evolve nicely over the course of the next decade. Drink 2019-2026- 93

Feb 19th, 2019
Bill Bender

The last several years I’ve either opened a Royal City, Charles Smith Skull or Behrens Family Thanksgiving Cab (with the skeleton family on the label) on Halloween night. This is far and away the best showing for the Royal City I’ve ever had. 10 years in bottle seems to be the sweet spot for this wine. Blackberry compote, black olive tapenade, smoke, grainy tannins and a dash of herbaceous goodness. Not at all like Cayuse—there is no fox fur funk—rather it compares favorably to a higher end Northern Rhône but without the classy heft and long finish of a LaLa. Enjoyed it immensely.

The last several years I’ve either opened a Royal City, Charles Smith Skull or Behrens Family Thanksgiving Cab (with the skeleton family on the label) on Halloween night. This is far and away the best showing for the Royal City I’ve ever had. 10 years in bottle seems to be the sweet spot for this wine. Blackberry compote, black olive tapenade, smoke, grainy tannins and a dash of herbaceous goodness. Not at all like Cayuse—there is no fox fur funk—rather it compares favorably to a higher end Northern Rhône but without the classy heft and long finish of a LaLa. Enjoyed it immensely.

Nov 1st, 2018
Jess Granatiero

Oy vey! Big, big and bigger! Lots of fruit, body and richness.

Oy vey! Big, big and bigger! Lots of fruit, body and richness.

1 person found it helpfulNov 16th, 2016
Adam Jesberger

Voluptuous fruit. Silky and elegant while somehow being a powerhouse. Seemingly whole cluster like green notes with northern rhone like appeal to the nose. Then the palate hits like a confected new world blue fruited expectation with an added oomph of acidity. This wine kicks ass.

Voluptuous fruit. Silky and elegant while somehow being a powerhouse. Seemingly whole cluster like green notes with northern rhone like appeal to the nose. Then the palate hits like a confected new world blue fruited expectation with an added oomph of acidity. This wine kicks ass.

Apr 24th, 2016
Dave Loretta

Super delicious, especially when paired with a savory cast iron skillet T-bone steak. Licorice, blackberries and smokey plums that wash the palate and make you crave one more bite of red meat.

Super delicious, especially when paired with a savory cast iron skillet T-bone steak. Licorice, blackberries and smokey plums that wash the palate and make you crave one more bite of red meat.

Feb 15th, 2016
Bill Bender

Nose of wet fox fur, big, brawny olive, tapenaude, ripe plumb, gravel. Really rich and lush. 💀

Nose of wet fox fur, big, brawny olive, tapenaude, ripe plumb, gravel. Really rich and lush. 💀

Nov 1st, 2015
Chris Morgan

Sommelier The Oceanaire Seafood Room

9.4

Huge, black fruit monster. Still youthful. Just hints of black olive and potting soil. Needs 5-10 more years.

Huge, black fruit monster. Still youthful. Just hints of black olive and potting soil. Needs 5-10 more years.

Apr 15th, 2015