Myles Anderson Sells his Share of Walla Walla Vintners
On February 21, it was announced that Myles Anderson, who founded Walla Walla Vintners with Gordy Venneri in 1995, has sold his interest in the winery. At the age of 76, he plans to move into the role of "ambassador." This caps a career that includes establishing the Walla Walla Community College's Center for Viticulture and Enology. He wad inducted into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame in 2011 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers in 2014. The new co-owner is Scott Hallway, a Portland, Oregon entrepreneur and his wife. He will beed working closely with Gordy Venneri in growing Walla Walla Vintners. William vonMetzger will continue as winemaker. For more details see www.greatnorthwestwine.com.
The Whitehouse Crawford Napa Valley Cabernet Tasting
A week ago, we attending a tasting of Cabernet Sauvignons from four iconic Napa Valley Wineries at the Whitehouse Crawford Restaurant in Walla Walla. It was an interesting tasting. Here are the wines and my notes and scores. Prices are from the winery websites.
2011 Stags Leap Wine Cellar "Hands of Time" Red Blend, Napa Valley ($35) - This Cabernet-Merlot blend comes from the winery founded Warren Winarski, sold five years ago. It showed deep ruby color and a nose of raspberry, cherry and plum, with scents of red roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco and herb. The medium bodied flavors were supple and fruit forward, with notes of red licorice, cocoa, medium roast coffee and loamy earth. 18.5/20 points.
2013 Stags' Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags' Leap District ($58) - This comes from Carl Domaini's winery. Aaron Potts is the winemaker. It showed an opaque crimson-ruby color and a perfumed nose of blackberries, huckleberries and cherries, with scents of roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco and herbs. The flavors were taut and firm cored, with notes of dark chocolate, French roast and minerals. The back picked up macerated berries, roasted nuts and mocha, followed by a long, satiny, yet firm tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2012 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Oakville ($58) - The winemaker is Michael Wies and the owner is Vengraves. It showed a deep ruby color and a rich, sweetish, sultry nose of blackberries, cherries and currants, crushed roses, sweet pea flowers, sweet tobacco, cedar, sandalwood and incense. The flavors were penetrating, yet svelte, marked by notes of licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and pulverized minerals. The back picked up pressed berries, roasted walnuts, toffee and charcoal, followed by a long, sweet oak and ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2012 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon, West Oakville ($100) - Made by Heidi Barret, this wine showed a deep crimson-ruby color and aromas of dark fruits - blackberries, cherries and plums - with scents of crushed roses, bayberry and sweet tobacco. The nose, however, had a menthol-like scent which dissipated somewhat on aeration, but remained noticeable. The flavors were deep and penetrating marked by chocolate, coffee and minerally earth. The back was penetrating, with sensations of pressed berries, hazelnuts, sweet oak and ripe, grainy tannins. 19/20 points. This wine would have scored 19.5 points were it not for the slightly off nose which gave it a half point deduction.
Conclusion: These are highly respectable Cabernets. With the exception of the Paradigm, they represent fair value for their price points. But there are plenty of Washington Cabernet Sauvignons that have scored 19/20 points for $50 or less.
Next Week: A Tasting of Loire Valley Wines