November 1-3 was Fall Release Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley. It was a weekend when some wineries were open especially for the occasion. Here's what we did.
On Thursday, October 31, I got a jump on the weekend by visiting L'Ecole No. 41 and Woodward Canyon. At the L'Ecole, I tasted the new 2016 Apogee and Perigee blends and the 2017 GSM Red and at Woodward Canyon, the 2017 Estate Merlot and Old Vines Cabernet and the 2016 Artist's Cabernet, all to be reviewed in the December issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
On Friday morning, November 1, we went to Abeja and in the afternoon to The Walls for the 2017 Reds, The Ramparts and Gaspard Syrah along with the 2017 Lip Stinger White. And then on to Gramercy (2016 reds) and the Foundry Vineyards (2016 reds). All the to be in the December issue.
On Saturday, we went to Reynvaan Family Vineyards for a preview of the 2018 Syrahs. Here are my notes and scores.
2018 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Foothills Reserve" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($270 - 3 pack) - Ruby-garnet colored, it emits smoky aromas of raspberry, cherry, black currant, a hint of fig, crushed roses, lavender, olive tapenade and cracked pepper. The medium fill bodied flavors, as well, are dramatic, with notes of licorice, cocoa, French roast and silty minerals. The penetration continues on the back with framboise and cassis liqueurs, roasted nuts and charcoal, followed by a long smooth tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
2018 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "The Contender" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($270 - 3 pack) - This is a bold Syrah (with 6% Roussanne). It displays a deer ruby color and a sultry, smoky nose of blackpberries, blueberries, black currants, lavender and oriental incense. The flavors are dramatic with red and blue fruits that are infused with black licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and crushed rock. The back picks up macerated berries, roasted nuts. kidskin and charcoal, leading the way into a long, textured ripe tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
2018 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "In the Rocks" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($285 - 3 pack) - This is a glamorous Syrah (with 10% Viognier). It displays a deep ruby color and lovely aromas of red fruits - Marionberries, cranberries, currants - with scents of rosebuds, white flowers, lavender, violets and wood smoke. The flavors are deliciously mouth encompassing, with notes of licorice, cocoa, roasted coffee beans and distinct "Rocks" minerality. The penetration continues on the back with macerated berries, roasted nuts, smoked meats and pencil lead, followed by a lengthy, savory ripe tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
2018 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Stonessence" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($330 - 3 pack) - This lives up to its name, the essence of the stones of the Rocks. It boasts a deep ruby-crimson color and an a lovely, perfumed nose of blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, black currants and a bit of fig, with scents of black roses, tobacco, truffles, violets, white pepper and spiced incense. The flavors are incredibly silky yet vigorous, with black and blue fruits that are infused with licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and saline cobblestone and silt minerals. The back reveals pressed fruits, creme de cassis, dried cranberries, kidskin and charcoal, all followed seamlessly by a seemingly endless ripe balanced tannin finish. 20/20 points.
Also tasted was the Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2017 "Queen's Road" White, a superb blend of 65% Viognier and 35% Marsanne to be reviewed in the December issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
After Reynvaan, we went over to Rasa Vineyards on Powerline Road to taste Billo and Pinto Naravanne's 2016 reds, to be reviewed in December. In the afternoon, we went to Tero Estates' winery near Milton Freewater. The superb 2016 Petit Verdot will be in the December issue. Then on to Grosgrain Vineyards to taste the new 2018 reds, also to be reviewed in December.
On Sunday, we joined Ted and Joyce Cox for a vertical tasting put together by Bill Henry of Tertulia Cellars' Tierra Labrada wines from the Elevation Vineyard above the South Fork of the Walla Walla Valley, including the 2017, 2016 and 2015 reds.. The newly released 2017's will be reviewed in the December issue.