Harvest 2016 Heads to Endgame

This year's grape harvest is now over three fourths of the way through. Most of the remaining grapes to be picked are Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, varieties that are typically slow maturing. On Monday, Brian Rudin (Canvasback) reported that he still had a third of the crop on Red Mountain remaining to be picked and that more were about to be picked. This morning, I talked with Rich Funk (Saviah Cellars) and he said he was happy with the way the harvest was going, especially with Syrah, with great fruit from the Rocks, and with Cabernet.

The thing that is looming in everyone's mind now is the report that a major storm will be moving through the state starting tomorrow afternoon. The Cliff Mass report predicts a cyclonic storm to move eastward. The coast and Puget Sound will receive the brunt of the storm with high winds and heavy rain, but as it moves eastward, wind and rain will impede the harvest in Eastern Washington. Pickers are, at this moment, working in the vineyards to get as much done as they can. Saturday may see the greatest impact of the storm, with weather calming down by Monday. Luckily, as Rich Funk pointed out, the thick skinned Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes can withstand rain well. 

Fingers crossed, more later!


Walla Walla Valley Fall Release Weekend Recommendations

This year, Fall Release Weekend will be November 4-6. Below is a list of recommendations of wineries to visit. It is not an inclusive list, but consists of ones that will be releasing outstanding wines, scoring 19 or 19.5 points, that have been reviewed in the Review of Washington Wines and, therefore, merit special attention.

àMaurice Cellars - Anna Schafer has turned out some impressive 2015 whites and 2014 reds (19 - 19.5 points), to be reviewed in the November issue, on line October 24.

Ardor Cellars - Ardor has four superb single vineyard Syrahs (19 points each) and a blend of the four (19.5 points). Reviewed October.

Buty - Nina Buty and Chris Dowsett have beautiful 2015 whites and 2014 reds to pour. They are not to be missed. To be in the November issue.

Maison Bleue - Check out the 2014 Métis Rouge and the 2014 Domaine J. Meuret Chardonnay and 2014 Pinot Noir from the Columbia Gorge. To be reviewed in December.

March Cellars - Ashley Trout's tasting room on Lyday Lane, off Braden Road, has just opened. She has a lovely 2014 Chardonnay (19 points, reviewed October). Also check out the 2015 Vital Red Blend and 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon to be reviewed December.

Rotie Cellars - Sean Boyd has some outstanding 2014 reds (19+ - 19.5 points) and tasty 2015 whites. Reviewed September and October.

Seven Hills - Outstanding 2013's and 2014's (September and October), including the new 2014 Pentad (19.5/20 points, to be reviewed December).

Spring Valley Vineyards - The 2013 Muleskinner Merlot, Derby Cabernet and Uriah are outstanding (19 points).

Tero Estates - The 2013 "DC3" Red and Cab Franc are outstanding (19+ points) and the 2011 Old Block Cabernet scored 19.5 points. Reviewed October.


Coming Up: 

Tuesday, October 18 - The Re-emergence of Site Specific Chardonnay

Monday, October 24 - More About the Wineries visited on the Olympic Peninsula (along with the November issue of the Review of Washington Wines.