- Written by Rand Sealey
On Monday, February 11th, the tasting rooms at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla celebrated their anniversaries, as Trio Vintners, Locati Cellars, Tero Estates and Flying Trout, Lodmell Cellars and Don Carlo Vineyard welcomed guests for an evening of fun and friendship. All rooms were packed, as many people in the wine industry and other locals came to celebrate. Lots of delcious wine was poured and the event was a memorable one. Congratulations to Karen LaBonte (Trio Vintners), Mike Locati (Locati Cellars), Doug and Jan Roskelley (Tero Estates), Ashley Trout (Flying Trout), Andrew Lodmell (Lodmell Cellars) and Tim and Lori Kennedy (Don Carlo Vineyard) for helping make Walla Walla such a vibrant wine producing scene.
Coming up in June: Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine
What used to be called Vintage Walla Walla, has been revamped into Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wines, which will be held June 20-22. The event will compare Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the Walla Walla and Napa Valleys, with tastings and symposiums featuring winemakers and guest speakers. So put the dates on your calendar. There will be a website with more information beginning February 18. Duane Wollmuth, head of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, says "This event will be a gem."
- Written by Rand Sealey
This week's Review of Washington Wines Blog posting is a brief one. The reason: our move to Walla Walla is consuming a lot of time with packing, coordinating movers and getting our Seattle home ready for the market.
Here are a few more Best Buys, found at Esquin Wine & Spirits, to add to those in the February issue of the Review.
2010 Gordon Brothers Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($18 - $13.99 at Esquin)
This is a servicable Chardonnay at an attractive price. Brilliant gold colored, it offers an attractive nose of apple, peach and pineapple with scents of apple blosomss and grapefruit peel. The flavors are direct and true to variety, with touches of lemon custard and vanilla on a ripe, lightly toasted finish. 17.5+/20 points.
2010 Two Vintners Syrah, Columbia Valley ($25 - $18.99 at Esquin)
This is a rich, savory Syrah. It exhibits a deep ruby color and enticing aromas of blackberry, blueberry and cassis with scents of lavender and spiced incense. The dark fruit flavors are generous and savory, with notes of dark chocolate, licorice and loamy earth, followed by macerated berries, mocha, roasted nuts and creme de cassis on a ripe, persistent finish. 18/20 points.
Here are two wines reviewed in previous issues that are available at special pricing.
2010 Blacksmith Syrah, Columbia Valley ($18 - $14.99 at Esquin)
This was reviewed in the December 2012 issue. "...The flavors are well focused, with the dark fruits intermixed with licorice, cocoa and earthy minerals...." 18/20 points.
2010 Seven Hills Winery Merlot, Columbia Valley ($25 - $18.99 at Esquin)
At under $19, this is a teriffic deal in Merlot. Reviewed in January: "Deep ruby colored, it offers a rich raspberry, cherry and cassis nose with rose and violet perfumes. The flavors are rich and mouth caressing, yet deep..." 18.5/20 points.
The next Review of Washington Wines Blog posting will be on February 12. Because of our move, the next posting will be moved to the next Tuesday. In it, I will report of barrel tasting 2011's in Walla Walla.
- Written by Rand Sealey
Last week, I announced our imminent move full time to Walla Walla. Presently, we are in the throes of packing and cleaning in preparation for that move in February. We, however, have managed to find time to eat and to drink wine. Lately, we have been concentrating on diminishing our stock of wine at our Seattle home and sampling new releases for review in the upcoming February issue of the Review of Washington Wines. Here's a rundown on some of the wines recently tried.
2009 Baer "Callisto" Red Blend, Columbia Valley - This is a well-focused, tasty combination of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot and 3% Merlot. (Reviewed in the January issue - 19/20 points.) It paired nicely wth grilled filet mignon and baked potatoes.
2011 DeLille Cellars "Doyenne" Winemaker's Reserve Roussanne, Yakima Valley - This was a limited reserve bottling available only at the winery. We had it with melted raclette cheese on fingerling potatoes, the wine's richness matched the nutty-creamy quality of the cheese.
2010 Balboa Syrah, Walla Walla Valley - I wrote, "If you like a front and back kick in a Syrah, this is for you." (To be reviewed in the February issue.) We had it with meat loaf from Metropolitan Market after a busy day, getting kitchenwares organized for packing.
2010 Memaloose Estate Cabernet Franc, Columbia Gorge, Idiot's Grace Vineyard - We had this with a quick dinner of sauted beef tenderloin and potatoes. (Reviewed in the December issue, 18.5/20 points).
2007 Cadaretta Syrah, Columbia Valley - This was purchased back in 2010 when it was released. It was drinking nicely, still a bit young, with smoldering aromas and thick, dark fruits,, coated with black licorice and bittersweet chocolate, followed by roasted berries and nutmeats. Tannins rounding out - could go a few more years. 18.5+/20 points.
2010 Pamplin Family Winery "JRG" Red Wine, Columbia Valley - Drunk with another take-out dinner, rotisserie chicken. (To be reviewed in the February issue).
2009 Upland Estates "Old Vine" Cabernet Sauvignon, Snipes Mountain - This was accompanied by grilled lamb chops and roasted potatoes. (To be reviewed in February.)
N/V Flying Trout Malbec, Columbia Valley - This is one of the first wines we bought from Ashley Trout. It had evolved into a rich, aromatic wine, suggestive of forest carpet, and dark, brooding flavors reminiscent of the "black wine" (also Malbec) of Cahors in France's Lot Valley. 18.5+/20 points.
2011 Domaine Huet "Le Haut Lieu" Vouvray - For a change, we had this Loire white (Chenin Blanc) from one of Vouvray's best producers. Richly fruited and aromatic, with an essential minerality, it paired nicely with fresh cracked Dungeness crab. 19/20 points.
2006 Reininger "Cima" Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley - We had this "Super Tuscan" blend of 50% Sangiovese and 25% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, with raclette cheese and potatoes (winter comfort food). Kudos to Chuck Reininger for this lovely, aromatic supple wine that provided a lot of pleasure for us and our guests (reviewed November, 2012). 19+/20 points.
- Written by Rand Sealey
In my last Blog posting of January 9th, I mentioned that Lynn and I had been in Walla Walla at the end of December and begining of January looking at houses. We ended up making an offer, which was accepted, on a house south of town with a pond and a view of the Blue Mountains, and idyllic setting. We did it for two reasons, to simplify our lives by settling in one home instead of two, between which we have been shuttling back and forth. The other is to take advantage of the less hectic lifestyle of Walla Walla and its cultural and social niceties.
What will this move (to take place by March 1st) mean for the Review of Washington Wines? Does it mean more coverage of eastern Washington wineries and less of western Washington? The answer is yes and no. With Walla Walla as our home base, we will be within two and a half hours of major wine producing areas such as Chelan, the Yakima Valley and the Columbia Gorge. The coverage of western Washington will continue to be extensive. A few weeks ago, I counted up the number of issues in 2012 with special reports on Woodinville and came up with three. We will be making periodic trips to the west side. So there will be no change on that score.
Another thing that will change in the future is more coverage of emerging AVA's and up and coming wineries. With the closer proximity to the Wine Country, I will be able to provide more in-depth reports on wineries and vineyards than before. So, our upcoming move will enable me to offer added value to the Review of Washington Wines. More later!
- Written by Rand Sealey
On December 28th, Lynn and I flew to Walla Walla and returned on January 6th. Much of our time was taken house hunting which culminated in our making an offer on a nice home south of town with a pond and a sweeping view of the Blue Mountains. We will be living there full time begining in late February. We did, however, find time to do some tasting at a few wineries.
Revelry Vintners - This Airport winery has some outstanding new Limited Edition wines, a 2010 Bordeaux-style Reveler Red and a 2010 Syrah from the Weinbau vineyard. Both and others will be reviewed in the February issue.
Three Rivers Winery - We met with winemaker Holly Turner and tasted some head-turning wines which will be reviewed in a Focus article in February.
Glencorrie - Here, we tasted some newly released 2009's which will be reviewed in February. Also tasted were two Club wines which are impressive enough to warrant joining. Check the website: glencorrie.com.
2009 Glencorrie Malbec, Columbia Valley ($32 - wine club only)
This wine exhibits a deep purplish color and a nose redolent of blackberries, blueberries, black plums, violets and spiced incense. The medium-full bodied flavors are deep and penetrating, with loads of dark fruits that are intermixed with notes of licorice, coffee and earth minerals, and then march on itno a richly fruited back and finish. Delicious! 19/20 points.
2009 Glencorrie Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, Weinbau Vineyard ($38 - wine club only)
Deep ruby colored, this wine offers an enticing nose of raspberry, cherry, plum, sandalwood, dried roses, orange peel and a hint of mint. The dark fruit flavors are thick and chewy, underlain with black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans and alluvial minerals. The saturation continues on the back with macerated fruits, kirsch liqueur and toast, followed by a dusting of spice and pepper on the finish. 19/20 points.
Tero Estates - Doug and Jan Roskelley previewed three 2010's and one 2009 that were about to be bottled. They are exciting wines to look forward to: a 2010 "RBB (Right Bank Blend)," a combination of 2/3 Merlot and 1/3 Cabernet Franc, a chewy, well saturated wine from beginning to end; the 2010 Windrow Vineyard Cabernet Franc, a sultry deep, thick, chewy wine that continues Tero's string of successes with this variety; the 2010 Windrow Field Blend, a thick, full bore wine redolent of oriental perfumes and dark fruits; and the 2009 Windrow Plateau Block Cabernet Sauvignon, a dark purplish wines with seductive perfumes and thick, multilayered flavors. I expect all to score 19 points or more upon release later this year.