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January Food & Wine Pairing Recipes
Written by Rand Sealey   
Thursday, 05 January 2012 21:10

Recipes from Flying Trout and Tero Estates

 

Ashley Trout has sent me these recipes which pair beautifully with Flying Trout and Tero Estates wines.

 

Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Figs, Bacon and Gorgonzola cheese

Prepare pizza dough and let rise until ready to use. For the toppings, use one large Walla Walla Sweet onio, 2 tsp. fresh thyme, two bay leaves, kosher salt, four thick bacon slices cut into 1/4 in batons. Saute the onions, thyme and bay leaves in butter intil golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and put onions in a bowl. Add the bacon to the pan, stirring until brown. Form dough into a round on a floured surface, then add toppings plus quartered Mission figs and 3/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola and drizzled olive oil. Place pizza on baking stone, sliding back and forth quickly to keep dough from sticking. Bake at 350 degrees until brown, drizzle with more olive oil and dust with cracked pepper.

Pair with 2009 Flying Trout "Cutthroat" Red Blend, Columbia Valley

 

Roasted Chicken with Plum Sauce

Rinse one whole chicken and cut away excess fat. Pat dry. Place in shallow baking dish and rub with softened butter. Season inside with salt and pepper outside and inside. Stuff with garlic and lemon. Tie legs together and set breast side down, then let sit 30 minutes.

Prepare plum sauce from 3/4 cup good quality plum jam, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 1 tablespoon honey, one teaspoon finely chopped garlic.

Roast chicken 20 minutes. Brush plum sauce all over chicken. Turn breast side up return to oven at 375 degrees. Continue to roast 60-65 minutes, brushing with additional sauce and basting with pan juices every 15 minutes. Chicken is done when juices run clear when knife tip is inserted. Temperature at thigh without touching bone should register 160-170 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes, serve with side of plum sauce.

Pair with 2009 Flying Trout Old Vines Malbec, Konnowack Vineyard


Amanda's Pork Tenderloin

Take a pork tenderloin and butterfly it by slicing lengthwise almost all the way throug, then open the meat up like a book. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Evenly distribute a mixture of 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, four fresh figs, small diced, leaving about 1/2 inch of space on the edges. Roll the tenderloin back up, encasing the stuffing with the meat. Using 5 or 6 toothpicks, secure the meat back together at the edges. Wrap evenly with 3-6 slices of bacon, secured if needed with toothpicks. Place on preheated grill for about 20 to 25 minutes, until there is just a trace of pink. Watch throughout the cooking process as flareups may occur, and rotate the meat to crisp the bacon and tenderloin evenly. Let rest 10 minutes when done. Serve with pomegranate vinagrette.

Pair with 2008 Tero Estates Windrow Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley

 

Blueberry-Blackberry Pie

Bake a pie made with 4 cups fresh blueberries and 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, sugar and cinnamon, topped with lemon juice in a crust made from scratch.

Pair with 2008 Tero Estates Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard


More Wine and Food Pairings


Here are some pairings I have found to work well.

 

Grilled Flank Steak

I use a marinade of 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon each of coriander and cumin and 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger. Marinate for 2-3 hours and then grill.

Pairs with:

2009 Hollywood Hill Vineyards Dist. 83 Red, Horse Heaven Hills

2009 DeLille Cellars Doyenne "Aix" Red, Red Mountain

2008 Helix by Reininger "SoRho" Red Blend, Columbia Valley

 

Grilled Lamb Chops

2009 JM Cellars Estate Red, Walla Walla Valley, Margaret's Vineyard

2009 Obelisco Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain

2009 Convergence Zone "Squall Line" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

 

Grilled Ahi Tuna

I use the same marinate as for the flank steak above, but omitting the ginger.

2009 Hollywood Hills Grenache, Horse Heaven Hills

2009 Castillo de Feliciana Tempranillo, Wahluke Slope, Rosebud Vineyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 January 2012 23:05
 
Looking Ahead to 2012
Written by Rand Sealey   
Friday, 30 December 2011 00:03

As the year draws to a close, here is my wrapup for what's ahead. First, for those of you who have been unable to see the past few blogs, I have learned that I need to compose my postings right here in the blog software, so that's what I'm doing now and will do henceforth. If you want to see the past three postings, go back to your Review subscription page and click on the email links under Newsletter Archive.

 

Best Buys for 2012


For the biggest bang for the buck, here is a list of currently available wines reviewed in 2011 that scored 18.5/20 or more points and sell for $25 or less.

2008 Long Shadows Nine Hats Red, Columbia Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points- March, 2011

2008 Thurston Wolfe Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills, Zephyr Ridge Vineyard 18.5/20 points ($20) - April

2008 McCrea Cellars Syrah, Yakima Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points - May

2009 Hedges "Cuvee Marcel Dupont" Syrah, Red Mountain, Les Gosses Vineyard ($25) 19/20 points - July

2010 Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($22) 19/20 points - July

2009 McCrea Cellars Sirocco Blanc, Yakima Valley ($25) 19/20 points - August

2009 Upland Estates Chardonnay, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyards ($22) 18.5/20 points - September

2010 Maison Bleue "Notre Vie" Viognier, Yakima Valley, Arthur's Vineyard ($25) 19/20 points - September

2009 Robison Ranch Cellars Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley ($24) 18.5/20 points - September

2010 Bergevin Lane Viognier, Columbia Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points - September

2010 Buty Semillon-Sauvignon-Muscadelle, Columbia Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points - October

2010 Davenport Cellars Semillon, Columbia Valley ($19) 18.5/20 points - October

2010 Hard Row to Hoe Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley ($22) 18.5/20 points - November

2009 Trio Vintners Zinfandel, Yakima Valley, Far Away Vineyard ($20) 18.5/20 points - November

2010 Nefarious Cellars Estate Riesling, Columbia Valley, Stone's Throw Vineyard ($18) 18.5/20 points - November

2009 Robison Ranch Cellars "Combine" Red, Walla Walla Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points - December

2009 Guardian Cellars "Chalk Line" Red, Columbia Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points - December

2008 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley ($25) 18.5/20 points - December

 

Wineries to Watch in 2012

 

Corvus Cellars - Now that they are established in Walla Walla, Randall Hopkins and Steve Lessard are turning out impressive wines. Look for some exceptional 2009's.

Convergence Zone Cellars - See the January issue for new releases from Scott Greenberg's Woodinville winery.

Reynvaan Family Vineyards - Watch for blockbuster 2010's being released in the fall. Prelimary notes are in the Dec. 16 blog, and there will be a fuller report in the February issue.

Fjellene Cellars - Owner-winemaker Matthew Erlandson is making great strides. Watch for his 2009's.

El Corazon - Spencer Sievers' wines sell out quickly and he is on the 2010 vintage for reds. I tasted them in December and will retaste next month for a report in February.

Rasa Vineyards - Pinto and Billo Naravane's wines keep getting better. There will be a report on their 2009's in the February issue.

Tero Estates - In 2012, Doug Roskelley will be following up his exceptional 2007's with suprb 2008's.

Flying Trout - Partnering with Tero Estates, Ashley Trout will also be releasing her own new vintages. Watch for a head-turnning 2009 Mary's Vineyard Malbec.

Maison Bleue - Jon Martinez continues to wow with his finely crafted Rhone-style whites and red. He has more trick up his sleeve for 2012.

Buried Cane - With Brian Rudin as winemaker, this winery shows that high quality wines can be put into screwcap bottles. The 2008 "Heartwood" Red will be reviewed in February.

Caprio Cellars - This newcomer to the Walla Walla wine scene is making an impression. Owner-winemaker Dennis Murphy's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon will be in the February issue.

Hollywood Hills - Steve and Becky Snyder continue to do a great job with their Rhone-style wines. See the January issue of the Review for a Focus profile.

 

Predictions for 2012

 

Here's my look in the crystal ball for what's ahead for the coming year.

 

What Will Happen when Initiative 1183 Becomes Law?

Many Washington Winemakers have expressed concern about the repercussions of the privatization of liquor sales, beginning June 1. They worry that reduced shelf space for wine (as space gets taken up by spirits), volume wholesale discounting, and direct producer to retailer sales may adversely affect wineries. Sure, the passage of the initiative is a game changer, but it need not be one that impacts boutique wineries negatively to any great extent. Most of the changes have to do with the mass market wines which are stocked in supermarkets and big box stores.

Yes, wineries will have to get more creative with their marketing. But that is what free market competition is all about. It's never a level playing field, to be sure, but this does not mean any winery or wholesaler should take any distribution structures for granted. Wine is a market-driven product and the industry has to be responsive to that. Those wineries that produce products that are in demand should not have much to fear.

So, I predict that wineries which are dedicated to making quality wines will continue to do well under privatization.

 

Vintages to Watch: 2010 and 2011

Despite an erroneous report in Decanter Magazine which quoted a Washington winemaker out of context and dismissed the 2011 vintage in a few sentences, the consensus among winemakers around the state is that 2011 should shape up to be an exceptional one. Like 2010, the protracted harvest in 2011 presented challenges. But the result was more even grape ripening, lower sugars, and bright phenols. Early barrel sampes showed much promise. In early February, Trey Busch (Sleight of Hand) and I will get together a tasting of 2010's and 2011's, and I will be reporting on it in a future blog posting. For a recent report on some 2010's, see my blog posting of December 16.

 

Washington Wines get More Press

Washington wines hae been in the news more than ever. Articles have been published in newspapers and magazines around the country - Broward-Palm Beach Times, MSNBC, Anapolis Times, Palm Beach Post, St. Louis Today, the New York Times, and more (see Sean Sullivan's Washington Wine Report for periodic Washington Wine Round-ups of news articles mentioning Washington Wines). Washington Wines are becoming increasingly trendy, and even California publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times have given Washington wines favorable reviews. I expect this trend to continue in 2012.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Next Week: January Wine and Food Pairings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 30 December 2011 23:17
 
Top Wines of 2011
Written by Rand Sealey   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:19

About this Year’s Lists


This year, I have put the four wines scoring 20/20 points at the top, followed by The Next Top Twenty-One, which consists of all wines scoring 19.5 points. The following list consists of outstanding wines that are highly recommended. Some wines may be sold out at the winery, but are worth looking for at retail stores. These wines are listed in the order in which they were reviewed, from January to December 2011. Omissions from this list do not necessarily mean that certain wines lack merit. There is not enough space to list all of them here, or in my Review of Washington Wines. Also, with the hundreds of wineries now in operation in this state, it is not possible to cover all of them. And I have intentionally left out wines, which are allocated, or unavailable in the general market.


The Four Top Wines of the Year


2009 Maison Bleue “Liberte” Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard (September) - $45

2008 Rasa Vineyards “Creative Impulse” Red, Yakima Valley, DuBrul Vineyard (November) - $95

The following two wines will be reviewed in the January 2012 issue, but since they were released and tasted in 2011, they are included here.

2007 Tero Estates Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard (January 2012) - $90

2003 Reininger “Desiderata” Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley (January 2012) - $120


The Next Top Twenty-One – 19.5/20 Points


2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards “The Contender” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley (March) - $65

2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyards “Stonessence” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley (March) – sold out (possible 20/20 points)

2008 Sleight of Hand “The Archimage” Red, Columbia Valley (March) - $45

2008 Adams Bench “Reckoning” Red, Columbia Valley (March) - $39

2009 Maison Bleue “Graviere” Red, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard (April) - $39

2008 Buty “Rediviva of the Stones” Red, Walla Walla Valley (April) – sold out

2008 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard (May) - $60

2008 DeLille Cellars Harrison Hill Red, Yakima Valley (May) - $70

2009 Betz Family “Clos Patriarche” Red, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard (May) - $60

2008 Andrew Will “Sorella” Red, Horse Heaven Hills (May) - $70

2008 Woodward Canyon “Dedication Series” Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (June) - $79

2006 Corliss Estates Syrah, Columbia Valley (June) - $55

2007 Northstar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley (June) - $50

2010 Maison Bleue “Petite Joie” Marsanne, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard (September) - $35

2009 Maison Bleue “Le Midi” Grenache, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard (September) - $35

2008 Adams Bench “the V” Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (September) - $49

2008 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Mays Discovery Vineyard (September) -$52

2009 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley (October) - $34

2006 Corliss Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (November) - $75

2008 Long Shadows “Sequel” Syrah, Columbia Valley (December) - $50

2009 Obelisco Estate “Electrum” Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain (December) - $60


Forty Memorable 19/20 Points Wines


2005 Reininger “Cima” Red, Walla Walla Valley (January) - $51

2008 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope (February) - $42

2008 Sleight of Hand “The Illusionist” Red Blend, Columbia Valley (March) - $45

2006 McKinley Springs Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills (April) - $30

2008 Brian Carter Cellars “One” Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, Stone Creek Vineyard (May) - $48

2009 Betz Family “Besoleil” Grenache, Yakima Valley (May) - $50

2009 K Vintners “The Boy” Grenache, Walla Walla Valley (June) - $50

2008 Woodward Canyon “Charbonneau” Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley (June) - $69

2007 Forgeron Cellars “Vinfinity” Red, Columbia Valley (June) - $46

2008 Stephenson Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Patina Vineyard (June) - $45

2007 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard (June) - $55

2008 Rasa Vineyards QED Red, Walla Walla Valley (July) - $50

2010 Waters “Prelude” White, Columbia Valley (July) - $30

2009 Waters “Capella” Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley (July) - $40

2009 Hedges “Descendents Liegois Dupont, Cuvee Marcel Dupont” Syrah, Red Mountain (July) - $25

2008 Efeste “Big Papa” Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (August) - $49

2008 Spring Valley “Uriah” Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley (August) - $50

2010 Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard (August) - $22

2007 Long Shadows Chester-Kidder Red, Columbia Valley (August) - $50

2008 Upland Estates “Teunis” Red Blend, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard (September) - $45

2008 El Corazon “Tiger’s Blood” Reserve Carmenere, Walla Walla Valley (September) - $35

2009 Rotie Cellars Northern Blend, Columbia Valley (September) - $40

2009 El Corazon/Rotie Cellars “Swordfight” Syrah, Columbia Valley (September) - $50

2007 Bergevin Lane “Intuition” Reserve Red, Columbia Valley (September) - $59

2010 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc, Columbia Valley (October) - $34

2008 Barrage Cellars “Eclipse” Syrah, Yakima Valley, Vignes de Marcoux (October) - $40

2008 Tero Estates Windrow Red, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard (October) - $45

2009 Kerloo Cellars Tempranillo, Columbia Valley (October) - $34

2008 Domaine Pouillon Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Gorge, McDuffee Vineyard (October) - $35

2008 :Nota Bene Cellars Ciel du Cheval Red Blend, Red Mountain (October) - $35

2008 Nefarious Cellars Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Rocky Mother Vineyard (Nov.) - $42

2008 Hard Row to Hoe Syrah, Lake Chelan (November) - $30

2008 Flying Trout “Mary’s Block” Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard (November) - $35

2009 Gramercy Cellars “The Third Man” Red, Columbia Valley (November) - $45

2007 Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel, Columbia Valley (November) - $30

2006 Corliss Estates Red Blend, Columbia Valley (November) - $65

2008 Buty Columbia Rediviva, Estate Grown, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard (December) - $48

2009 Lullaby Viognier, Walla Walla Valley (December) - $35

2007 Robert Karl Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Gunselman Bench Vineyard (Dec.) - $35

2098 Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (December) - $42


Next Week: Best Buys for $25 or Less, Predictions for 2012, Wineries to Watch

The January issue of the Review of Washington Wines also on Line December 30

 

Last Updated on Monday, 26 December 2011 21:36
 
Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend in Walla Walla
Written by Rand Sealey   
Thursday, 15 December 2011 18:53

There was a lot going on during Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend in Walla Walla December 2-4. Wineries were decorated with festive lights, and barrel rooms opened up for tasting the 2010’s and 2009’s. See last week’s posting for my notes on the 2010’s that I tasted. Here’s a report on other happenings.


The Second Annual Marcus Whitman Hotel Winemakers Dinner


On Friday, December 2, Locati Cellars, Don Carlo Vineyards, Tero Estates and Flying Trout had their second winemaker dinner at the Marcus Whitman. There were eight courses, matched to eight wines, two from each winery. And the winemakers spoke about their wines. It was a fabulous evening with perfect wine and food pairings and lots of camaraderie. Here is the menu and the wine pairings.


Baby Arugula and Warm Brie

Fresh cranberry orange vinagrette, Spiced pecan

2010 Locati Cellars Rose, Walla Walla Valley


Pan Seared Diver Scallop

Washington apple and Golden raisin marmalade

2009 Don Carlo Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley


Dungeness Lump Crab Tortellini Carbonara

House-made bacon, Parmesan Reggiano, sweet peas

2007 Locati Cellars Innovation Red, Columbia Valley


Brandied Cherry Stuffed Breast of Pheasant

Toasted wild rice, stone fruit Mostarda, choke cherry jus

2009 Flying Trout Mary’s Block Malbec, Windrow Vineyard


Crispy Skin Muscovy Duck Breast

Carmelized maple duck jus. Sweet corn polenta cake

2009 Don Carlo Cabernet Franc


Braised Upper Dry Creek Lamb Beggar’s Purse

Yukon potato puree, roasted root vegetables

2008 Tero Estates Windrow Blend, Windrow Vineyard


Roasted Eye of Buffalo Rib Eye

Savory Crater Lake blue cheese bread pudding, sauce Perigourdine

2007 Tero Estates Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Windrow Vineyard


German Chocolate Cake

Coconut pecan frosting, chocolate whipped cream, Malibu rum Ganache, Vanilla ice cream

2009 Flying Trout Cutthroat Red Blend, Horse Heaven Hills


Barrel Tasting 2009’s


Some wineries sampled 2009’s that weekend. Here are my notes, with preliminary scores (these could go up upon release and after some bottle age).


2009 Corvus Estate Petit Verdot, Red Mountain

Dark purple colored, this emits an intoxicating nose of wild blackberry, cherry and cassis, with perfumes of attar of roses and violets. The dark fruit flavors are thick and saturated, redolent of dried berries, mocha, chocolate and licorice, with a finish that goes on and on. 19/20 points.


2009 Corvus Estate “Wild Ferment” Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

With wild yeast, this wine took five months to ferment. It shows a deep garnet color and an exotic nose of wild raspberries, cassis, sandalwood and dried roses. The flavors are thick and chewy, interwoven with licorice, chocolate, Red Mountain scorched earth and minerals. The back reveals notes of toasted bread, mocha, cinnamon bark and coffee bean on a lasting finish. 19+/20 points.


2009 Rasa Vineyards “Limelight” Petit Verdot (Futures: $45)

Purplish colored, this shows terrific aromas of wild berries, cherries, cassis, rosebuds, sandalwood and incense. The flavors are deliciously deep and vivid, with full throttle dark fruits whose saturation continues on the back and into a long finish. 19/20 points.


2009 Rasa Vineyards “Occam’s Razor” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard Block 10 (Futures: $48)

This displays a deep purplish color and an intense nose of blackberry, blueberry and plum, with scents of lavender, violets and a hint of mint. The flavors are thickly saturated and structured, intermixed with licorice, chocolate, French roast, and silty loess minerals. The concentration continues on the back with squeezed berries and mocha on the chewy tannin finish. 19+/20 points.


2009 Rasa Vineyards “Doctrina Perpetua” Syrah, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard, Block 5 (Futures: $48)

Opaque purplish colored, this offers a lovely nose of raspberry, blueberry, cassis, lavender, jasmine, attar of rose, violets and incense. The thick and velvety dark fruits are wrapped around a firm core, mixed with licorice, cocoa powder, French roast and mocha. The back turns thick and juicy, with notes of crème brulée, orange peel, and a cascade of blueberry juice, culminating in a satiny tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.


2009 Rasa Vineyards “Plus One” Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Kiona Vineyard (Futures: $65)

Deep ruby colored, this exhibits a classic Cabernet nose of blackberry, cherry, cassis, matchstick, sandalwood, dried roses and rubbed sage. Tightly structured, yet with a finely woven tapestry of red and dark fruits, intermixed with licorice, dark chocolate, Red Mountain earth and minerals. The back picks up notes of roasted berries and chestnuts, with touches of mocha, cinnamon bark and orange peel, followed by a fleshy, silky, lightly spiced ripe tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.


2009 Rasa Vineyards “Perfect Union” Red Blend, Columbia Valley (Futures: $75)

A combination of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 23% Cab Franc from the DuBrul, Kiona, Dionysus and Weinbau vineyards, this forms a striking union. It displays a deep garnet color and a seductive nose of wild raspberries, blueberries, plums, and black currants, with scents of attar of rose, cigar box, sandalwood and smoldering incense. The fruits are mouth encompassing, accented by licorice, cocoa powder, mocha and French roast. The back picks up orange peel, roasted berries and nuts and sweet oak on a lingering sweet-dry tannin finish. A candidate for 20/20 points. 19.5+/20 points.


Cadaretta opens a Tasting Room in Downtown Walla Walla


The Cadaretta winery, located in the Artifex winemaking facility, opened its new tasting room on East Main Street on Saturday, December 3. It is a cozy room, with chairs and tables, and is decorated with large photographs of the early days of the Middleton family (owners of Cadaretta) logging operations, including one of the timber ship, Cadaretta, the winery’s namesake. On opening day, winemaker Brian Rudin poured the winery’s current releases. This makes a welcome addition to the downtown tasting room scene.

 

 

Next Week: The Annual Listing of the Top Wines of 2011

December 30: Predictions for 2012 and Wineries to Watch

Last Updated on Monday, 26 December 2011 21:41
 
Tasting the 2010's in Walla Walla
Written by Rand Sealey   
Thursday, 08 December 2011 15:44

I tasted a good number of wines from the barrels during Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend in Walla Walla from December 2 through 4. Most wineries had 2010’s for sampling and a few had some 2009 and 2008 reds. The 2010 vintage was a protracted one. A cold spring and cool summer led to a late, protracted harvest that took place from late September until mid November. As Chuck Reininger put it, working with the vintage was “like yesteryear,” as it recalled classic vintages such as 1999 and 2001. The grape sugars were lower than in 2008 and 2009, with higher phenols (which produce aromatics). The result is 2010 reds with lower alcohol levels and more aroma and structure. Here are my notes on the wines in order of tasting, with preliminary scores.


2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards “The Unnamed” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

Purplish ruby colored, with an intriguing nose of wild berries, cherries, plum, sandalwood and garrigue. The texture is thick and chewy, intermixed with minerals, licorice, and dark chocolate and coffee grounds. Turns svelte on the back with ripe tannins. 19+/20 points.


2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards “In the Rocks” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

Deep ruby colored, with aromas of wild berries, roasted cocoa beans, dried cherries, orange peel and smoldering incense. The dark fruits are thick and mouth filling, loaded with earthy minerals. The roasted berry character continues on the back, picking up tones of leather and dust. 19.5/20 points.


2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards “The Contender” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

Ruby colored, with a nose redolent of crushed raspberries, cherries, blackberries, lavender, violets and smoldering incense. The palate is strikingly sensuous, replete with roasted berries, licorice, espresso and a touch of leather, all with a chewy texture that is accented by orange peel and dried cherries. 19.5/20 points.


2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards “Stonessence” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

Semi opaque purplish color, with a seductive, intense nose of wild berries, cherries, cassis, attar of rose, violets and oriental perfumes. Thick and massive, yet refined and balanced, with an almost seamless interweaving of extracted fruits, licorice, mocha, French roast. The back picks up notes of crème brulee and orange peel on a fleshy texture. 20/20 points.


2010 Reininger Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Pepper Bridge Vineyard

Lovely blackberry, raspberry, cherry, spice and pepper nose with hints of violets. The dark fruits are super saturated, redolent of plucked berries, chocolate, earth and minerals, followed by a long, ripe finish that is marked by beautiful fruit acids. 19/20 points.

2010 Reininger Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard

This is a refined, aromatic style of Syrah with aromas of raspberry, cherry, cranberry and orange peel, with whiffs of crushed roses and pepper. The fruits are forward, yet wrapped around a firm core that is accented by notes of licorice and Horse Heaven earth and minerals, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove). 19/20 points.


2010 Buty Redivia of the Stones, Walla Walla Valley

Brilliant ruby colored, this wine shows a sensuous nose of raspberry, pomegranate and cassis, with scents of rose petals, sandalwood and violets. The flavors are deep and refined, almost “old world” style. The saturation continues on the back with notes of dried orange peel, mocha, chocolate and cinnamon bark, and a squeeze of pomegranate juice on a fine-grained oak and tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.


2010 Tranche Cellars Tempranillo, Yakima Valley, Black Rock Vineyard

Opaque ruby colored, this offers an intriguing nose of wild berries, cherry, mulberry, bayberry and vanilla (from new oak). The flavors are deep, but not heavyweight, yet with plenty of extracted dark fruits, followed by a long, nutted finish. 18.5+/20 points.


2010 Tranche Cellars “Block 9” Syrah, Walla Valley, Blue Mountain Vineyard

Opaque purplish colored, this shows spicy, peppery aromas of blackberry, cassis, garrigue and crushed roses. The sweetish dark fruit flavors are loaded with licorice, chocolate, and roast coffee. The roasted character continues on the back with grilled nuts and berries, followed by sweetish tannins. 19/20 points.


2010 Waters Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Forgotten Hills Vineyard

Brilliant ruby colored, this vintage offers a lovely perfumed nose of raspberry, cranberry and cassis, with scents of lavender, jasmine and oriental perfumes. Medium-bodied, it shows a feminine side to Syrah, along with a grainy texture and notes of Swiss chocolate, orange peel and dried berries. 19/20 points.


2010 Waters Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Loess Vineyard

Deep, brilliant ruby colored, this wine shows scents of raspberry, blueberry, cassis, violets and crushed roses. The flavors are exquisitely wrought, like a tapestry of red and blue fruits, licorice, cocoa powder, and coffee, spreading out on to a lingering moderate sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points.


2010 Flying Trout “Mary’s Block” Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard

This wine exhibits an inky purple color and a strong, peppery blackberry, black currant and plum nose, with scents of roses and violets. The flavors are deep and penetrating, amassing layers of dark fruit, intermixed with licorice, dark chocolate and espresso. Underneath are added layers of pressed berries, mocha and orange peel on a minerally sweet tannin finish. 19+/20 points.


2010 Tero Estate Windrow Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley

Dark ruby colored, this wine shows a seductive young nose of wild berries, black cherries and plums, with scents of crushed roses. The flavors are thick and saturated, with underpinning of dark chocolate, minerals and earth. The dark fruits march on through the back, with added infusions of squeezed berries, mocha, espresso and orange peel, followed by sweet-dry tannins. 19+/20 points.


2010 Tero Estate Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley

Deep ruby colored, this wine displays a ripe nose of raspberry, plum and roast coffee. The flavors are thick and chewy, with an earthy character that is reminiscent of a Chinon from the Loire Valley. On the back the chewy texture continues with notes of mocha, roasted nuts, Swiss chocolate, followed by a seductive finish that is marked by ripe tannins. 19/20 points.


Next week: More on Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend, including upcoming releases in 2012

 

Last Updated on Monday, 26 December 2011 21:36
 
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