Harvest 2021 a Wrap

It's a tradition at many wineries that when the last grape pick has been crushed, the workers break out the Champagne (the real stuff) to celebrate. Many wineries finished harvesting at the end of September and most done the first two weeks of October. Quality should be excellent. With the crop down about 30% and with smaller berries, the concentration will be higher than usual and the phenolics) will add more aromatics. See the September 24 blog posting below for more about how the growing season developed.

Some Interesting Wines Tasted Recently

Here are some wines that are particularly interesting, with tasting notes that show why they are distinctive.

2020 Xarmant Txakolina White Wine ($7.00 - 250 ml. can - The Thief, Walla Walla) - Xarmant is pronounced "charming" in Basque. This name is apt. Made from the indigenous Txakolina grape, this wine displays a brilliant light gold color and fresh aromas green apple, melon and lime, with scents of spring flowers, jasmine and wet stone. The jump out of the can flavors are fresh and vibrant, with notes of grape and apple skins and minerals, followed by a brisk, nicely fruited finish. 18.5/20 points.

2020 Naia Rueda ($12.99 - Esquin) - Made from 40 year-old Verdejo vines, this Spanish white shows a brilliant lemon-gold color and intriguing aromas of green apple, peach, melon, lime, apple blossoms, a hint of ginger, and green incense. The flavors, as well, are distinctive, with white and green fruits that are accented by grape skins, melon rind and calcareous minerals. The well textured back (from lees aging) picks up apple and peach liqueurs and lime zest on the way to a crisp finish. 18+/20 points.

2018 Orr Merlot, Columbia Valley, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($25) - We reviewed this wine in August (18.5/20 points) and had it again last Sunday with dinner at the Cox's. Erica Orr really knows how to make user-friendly wines. Blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, it shows a medium ruby color and engaging red fruit aromas and medium bodied but substantial flavors, marked by Royal Slope stony minerals, that finish ripe and smooth yet vigorous. 18.5/20 points.

2017 Fortuity Cellars "Le Classique" Red Wine, Yakima Valley ($40) - This is a blend of one-third each of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. We had it with the Cox's last Sunday. It shows a deep ruby-crimson color and engaging aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum, herbs and incense. The flavors are thick and generous, intensifying on the back with macerated fruits, roasted nuts and kirsch, followed by a lingering sweet dry tannin finish. 19/20 points. Reviewed March 2012, same score.

2016 Force Majeure Syrah, Red Mountain ($70) - We reviewed this wine in June 2019, following a visit to the winery facility near Milton-Freewater. The Cox's served it last Sunday. It is a superb rendtion of Red Mountain Syrah. With intense aromas of black and blue fruits, varietal purity, and mouth-encompassig flavors that are rounding out beautifully, along with terroir-driven character, this truly delivers. 19.5/20 points. Same score June 2019.

2019 Jean-Philippe Fichet Rully Blanc ($35 - The Thief) - From the Côte Chalonnais, south of the Côte D'Or, this is a distinctive Chardonnay. It displays a brilliant lemon-gold color and striking aromas of pear-apple, peach, citrus, apple blossoms, acacia flowers and wet stone. The flavors are well focused, with notes of grape skins, peach stones and Saone Valley alluvial minerals. The back reveals poire and peach liqueurs and toast, followed by a steely yet satiny finish. 19/20 points.

2015 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas ($34.99 - Esquin) - Composed of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre and 2% Cinsault, this a beefy yet refined South Rhone red. It shows a deep ruby-garnet color and rich aromas of raspberry, plum, currant, crushed roses, garrigue, smoked meats and spiced incense. The flavors are round yet well packed, with layers of red and blue fruits that are infused with licorice, cocoa and Montmirial minerals. The chewy textured back reveals roasted berries and fruits, creme de cassis and charcoal,nfollowd by a long, rich finish. 18.5+/20 points.

2016 Domaine de la Touraize Arbois Trousseau, "Les Corvées" ($35 - The Thief) - Arbois is in the Pays du Jura, northeast of Burgundy and Trousseau is an indigenous grape. It shows a medium ruby-garnet color and intriguing aromas of raspberry, bayberry, plum, orange peel, dried roses, tobacco, and orange incense. The flavors are medium bodied but substantial, with notes of licorice, powdered cocoa orange pekoe tea and Jurassic minerals. The chewy textured back picks up roasted berries and nuts and recurring orange peel, followed by a slightly grainy moderate tannin and acid finish. 18.5/20 points.