During the past few weeks, I have done a number of interesting wine tastings from a wide range of wine producing regions. Here are my notes and scores.
The Washington Wine Awards Judging
On March 6th, I flew from Walla Walla to Seattle to participate in Seattle Magazine's Washington Wine Awards. We tasted about 100 wines, no mean feat. Among the wines tasted were some highly impressive high end Cabernets (19.5 to 20/20 points). The winners will be announced in the August issue of Seattle Magazine.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs
The afternoon of the 6th, I stopped at Vino Volo in the Sea-Tac airport while waiting for my flight back to Seattle. I sampled a flight of three Oregon Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley. Prices are from Vino Volo by the bottle.
2014 Torii Mor Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley ($45) - This showed a medium brick red color and attractive aromas of raspberries, cherries, orange peel and crushed roses. The flavors were medium bodied and nicely fruited, almost Beaujolais-like, with notes of medium roast coffee and earth, followed by a juicy soft tannin finish. 18+/20 points.
2013 Angela Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley ($55) - Brick red colored, this offered enticing aromas of strawberry, cherry and plum with scents of red roses, cedar and white incense. The medium bodied flavors showed considerable Pinot character, with notes of licorice, cola and loamy earth. The back picked up fraise and cerise liqueurs and dustings of pepper and nutmeg on the way to a bright fruit acid finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2013 St. Innocent "Villages Cuvée" Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley ($43) - This is aptly named as it came on like a Côte de Nuits Villages from Burgundy. It showed a bright nose of cherry, raspberry and cranberry with scents of freshly cut flowers, baking spices and smoke. The medium bodied flavors were pleasingly supple, with notes of cola, medium roast coffee and spices, followed by a chewy moderate tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
White Burgundies at Whitehouse Crawford
On March 8th, Lynn and I tasted some white Burgundies at the Whitehouse Crawford Restaurant in Walla Walla. Here are our favorites.
2014 Mathieu Paquet Saint Veran - Saint Veran is a Maconnais appellation for the area adjoining Pouilly-Fuissé. It showed a medium gold color and a lovely nose of pears, peaches and apricots, with scents of wild flowers and jasmine. The true Chardonnay flavors were well delineated and lively, with mineral undertones and a crisp finish. 18+/20 points.
2013 Domaine Cheveau Pouilly-Fuissé, Vieilles Vignes - This was a lively rendition of Chardonnay, with a brilliant gold color and ripe aromas of pear, peach and citrus. The flavors were pleasingly ripe and generous, yet focused, with undertones of Maconnais slate and minerals, and a long, ripe finish. 18.5/20 points.
2010 Jean & Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru, Les Preuses - This was a wonderful example of a maturing Grand Cru. Greenish gold colored, it possessed aromas of pear, melon, wet stone and wild flowers and intense, steely, chalky classic Chablis Chardonnay flavors. The long finish was deep and ripe, yet bone dry. 19/20 points.
There were two more white Burgundies, one from Meursault and one from Chassagne-Montrachet. They turned out to be disappointing, given the prestige of their appellations, without much distinguishing character. We found the following "mystery wine" that was served blind to be much better.
2014 March Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley - This showed fine Chardonnay character and a pleasantly floral nose with scents of white fruits and meadow flowers. This wine scored 19/20 points. It also scored 19 points in the October issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
I tasted four wines made from Spanish (Albariño and Tempranillo) and Italian (Barbera Rosé and Sangiovese) varieties recently which were lovely wines. They will be reviewed in the May issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
Doug and Jan Roskelley have three exciting new estate vineyard wines, a 2013 Charbono (a rarity in the U.S. and known as Bonarda in Northern Italy), an unique 2013 "Petit(e)2 50/50 blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot, and a knockout 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Plateau Block of the Windrow Vineyard (19.5/20 points), all to be reviewed in the May issue.
Scroll down below for more recent tasting reports:
Spanish Sherries - This is a must read. You will find out that there are amazingly complex high quality wines from the Jerez region.
Loire Valley Wines - There are some tasty whites and reds from this region. There is much more of interest besides Muscadet and Sancerre.