Review of Washington Wines Blog
Walla Walla at the James Beard House
Written by Rand Sealey
Monday, 17 December 2012 14:32
The W2 12-12-12 Dinner at the James Beard House
Last Wednesday, on the twelfth day of the twelfth month of 2012, Lynn and I attended a dinner - "Taste of Walla Walla Wine Country" - at the James Beard Foundation in New York City, which featured a memu prepared by Chef Antionio Campolio of The Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, accompanied by wines from five Walla Walla Valley wineries. Also present were Chef Dan Theissen of the Walla Walla Community College Culinary Department. The wineries were represented by Marty Clubb (L'Ecole No. 41), Gary Figgins (Leonetti), Holly Turner (Three Rivers), Rick Small (Woodward Canyon) and Doug Roskelley (Tero Estates). The event was sold out, with all 80 available seats taken. It was held at the James Beard House at 167 West 12th Street in lower Manhattan Island. The house is owned by the James Beard Foundation which was established to continue the culinary legacy of James Beard. Here is the menu and wine accompaniments:
For the Reception
With various appetizers prepared by Dan Theissen:
2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Luminescence
2010 Woodward Canyon Estate Sauvignon Blanc
2007 Three Rivers "Svelte" Red
2007 Tero Estates Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Cape Cod Diver Scallop with butternut squash puree:
2011 Three Rivers Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
Pleasant View Foie Gras with pumpkin scone:
2011 Three Rivers Riesling, Columbia Valley
W2 Roastery Espresso Crusted Saint Ignatius Buffalo Carpaccio:
2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
Upper Dry Creek Ranch Lamb with sweet potato gnocchi:
2009 Woodward Canyon Estate Reserve Red, Walla Walla Valley
Dry Aged Double R Ranch New York Strip with Meyer lemon spatzel:
2009 Leonetti Cellar Reserve Red, Walla Walla Valley
Valrhona Dark Chocolate French Silk:
2009 Tero Estates Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley
The event was a tremendous success, and Antonio Campolio, Dan Theissen, the culinary staff, the winemakers and Marcus Whitman owners Kyle and Brenda Mussman all were given a big hand of applause after the dinner. The Walla Walla Valley came to New York City and made a big hit.
For pictures of the event, I have posted a few on the Review of Washington Wines Facebook Page, but more pictures can be found on the Facebook Pages of Tero Estates (taken by Jan Roskelley) and the Marcus Whitman Hotel (courtesy of Kyle and Brenda Mussman).
See the January 2012 issue for the 2007 Tero Estates Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (20/20 points) and the October issue for the 2009 Tero Estates Cabernet Franc (19/20 points). The 2009 Woodward Canyon Estate Reserve Red and 2009 Leonetti Reserve Red will be reviewed in the January 2013 issue. There will be a Focus article on Three Rivers and winemaker Holly Turner in the February 2013 issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
Coming up on the Review of Washington Wines:
The listing of the Top Wines of 2012 (those receiving 20/20 and 19.5/20 points) has already been posted on the December 7 Blog (scroll down to see it) along with Top New Wineries of 2012. So the upcoming postings have been revamped as follows:
December 24 - Best Buys: Wines Scoring 19/20 Points Wines for $40 or Less and Wines Scoring 18.5/20 Points for $25 or Less.
December 31 - The January 2013 Issue of the Review of Washington Wines, along with Looking Ahead to 2013 and Wineries to Watch on the Blog.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 15:36
Written by Rand Sealey
Saturday, 08 December 2012 00:19
I have just completed my compilation, in alphabetical order, of wines reviewed from July through December 2012. There is a link on the Review of Washington Wines subscription page (after login) under Email Messages. There is also a link to the compilation for January through June. To find the review for a particular wine, go to the issue for the month in which the wine was reviewed and scroll down until the review is found.
Below is the annual listing of the top wines of 2012, scoring 20/20 points and 19.5/20 points. On December 17th, the Review Blog will list the wines offering the most bang for the buck: Wines Scoring 19 Points for $40 or Less, and Wines Scoring 18.5 Points for $25 or Less. Some of the wines in the listing below and in the upcoming ones may be sold out.
The 20/20 Points Wines
2009 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Mays Discovery Vineyard ($52) - April
2009 Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($60) - August
2010 Maison Bleue "Gravière" Red, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($45) - April
2008 Reininger "Desiderata" Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley ($120) - January
2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "Stonessence" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($70) - February
2007 Tero Estates Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard ($120) - January
2007 Corliss Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($75) - November
The 19.5/20 Points Wines
2009 Adams Bench "the V" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($49) - April
2007 Boudreaux Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($100) - May
2009 Buty "Rediviva of the Stones" Red, Walla Walla Valley ($60) - June
2008 Brian Carter Cellars "One" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Klipsun Vineyard ($48) - January
2007 Corliss Estates Syrah, Columbia Valley ($55) - June
2007 Corliss Estates Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($65) - November
2009 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Red, Red Mountain ($70) - April
2009 DeLille Cellars Harrison Hill Red, Snipes Mountain ($70) - April
2008 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($89) - May
2009 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($89) - June
2009 Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($22) - August
2009 Dunham Cellars Cabernet Sauvigon XV, Columbia Valley ($45) - December
2008 FIGGINS Estate Red, Walla Walla Valley ($85) - May
2009 FIGGINS Estate Red, Walla Walla Valley ($85) - August
2006 Force Majeure "Collaboration Series" Ptera Red Wine, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($45) - February
2008 Forgeron Cellars "Anvil" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Klipsun Vineyard ($56) - December
2009 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($45) - June
2010 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Va Piano Vineyard ($38) - September
2010 K Vintners "The Beautiful" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($60) - August
2008 L'Ecole No. 41 "Perigee" Estate Red, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($49) - March
2008 L'Ecole No. 41 "Apogee" Red, Walla Walla Valley, Pepper Bridge ($49) - March
2009 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($85) - August
2010 Lullaby Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($70) - December
2010 Maison Bleue "Le Midi" Grenache, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($35) - October
2010 Maison Bleue "Liberté" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($40) - October
2008 Northstar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($50) - February
2008 Pamplin Family Winery Proprietary Red, Columbia Valley ($50) - April
2009 Pamplin Family Winery Proprietary Red, Columbia Valley ($55) - November
2009 Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($60) - August
2009 Rasa Vineyards "Occam's Razor" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($60) - July
2009 Rasa Vineyards "Doctrina Perpetua" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($60) - July
2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "In the Rocks" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($55) - February
2010 Reynvaan Family Vineyards "The Contender" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($65) - February
2009 Seven Hills Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($60) - September
2009 Seven Hills Winery "Pentad" Red, Walla Walla Valley ($60) September
2010 Seven Hills Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($45) - December
2009 Sinclair Estate Vineyards "Pentatonic" Red, Columbia Valley ($40) - December
2009 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Illusionist" Red, Columbia Valley ($45)- June
2010 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Funkadelic" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Funk Vineyard ($60) - June
2010 Tenor Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley ($48) - April
2008 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard, Hill Block ($53) - September
2008 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard, Plateau Block ($55) - September
2008 Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Windrow Vineyard, Old Block ($57) - September
2009 Waters Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Forgotten Hills Vineyard ($60) - February
2009 Woodward Canyon "Dedication Series" Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State ($79) - May
The Year End Wrap Up Countdown
Written by Rand Sealey
Friday, 30 November 2012 15:18
With the on line publication of the December issue of the Review of Washington Wines, I am in the process of wrapping up my coverage of Washington wines for 2012. Here's what's coming up this month in my upcoming Review Blogs:
December 7: The Compilation of Wines Reviewed July - December 2012 - This will list alphabetically all wines reviewed for the second half of the year. This listing will be accessed on the Subscription page (after login) under "Email Messages" (the link to the January - June 2012 Compilation can also be found here).
No Review Blog for Week of Dec 10-16 - I will be in New York City that week for a James Beard Foundation Dinner which will be featuring wines from Woodward Canyon, L'Ecole No. 41, Leonetti, Tero Estates and Three Rivers, with a menu prepared by Marcus Whitman Hotel chef, Antonio Campiolo. I will be reporting on the dinner in the following week's Review Blog posting.
December 17: The James Beard Foundation Dinner - The Foundation is an organization dedicated to preserving the culinary legacy of James Beard. Dinners prepared by renowned chefs are held regularly at the Foundation's headquarters in lower Manhattan.
December 24: Top Wines of 2012 and Wineries to Watch - This posting will list the 20/20 and 19.5 points wines, together with the Memorable 19 points wines of the year. The will also be a listing of Up and Coming wineries to watch in 2013.
December 31: January 2013 Issue on Line and Looking Ahead to 2013 - This posting will include my predictions for 2013 and a listing of Best Buys in wines scoring 18.5 points or more for $25 or less.
Here's my first listing for the Year End Wrap Up:
Exciting New Wineries of 2012
Caprio Cellars (February) - Owner-winemaker Dennis Murphy debuted his 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Eleanor's Vineyard, earning 18.5+ points, an auspicious first effort.
Pamplin Family Winery (April, June) - This Dundee, Oregon winery makes Bordeaux- style reds entirely from Washington grapes. The 2008 Proprietary Red garnered 19.5 points and the J|R|G Red, 19 points.
AniChe Cellars (May, December) - This Underwood Mountain winery in the Columbia Gorge was featured in the December issue with some impressive reds. Anais Mera and Rachael Horn also make a nice Albarino white.
Kevin White Winery (July) - Kevin White debuted his "En Hommage" 2010 Rhone-style Blend, earning 18.5+/20 points, and a terrific buy at $25 a bottle.
Delmas Cellars (August) - Mary and Stephen Robertson's 2010 Delmas Syrah from the SJR Vineyard in "The Rocks" of the South Walla Walla Valley is impressive, scoring 19+ points. Billo Naravane (Rasa Vineyards) is the consulting winemaker.
Avennia Winery (October) - Owner-winemakers Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson released their 2010 reds and a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, sourced from the Boushey and Force Majeure vineyards. They are quite impressive.
Clearwater Canyon Cellars (October) - Karl and Coco Umiker's winery was featured in a write-up on the Lewis-Clark Valley wine scene. Watch for their impressive 2010 Petit Verdot and Malbec in 2013.
Lauren Ashton Cellars (October) - Kit Singh's Woodinville Winery, named for his children, made an impressive debut with a fine 2011 Chardonnay and some exceptional 2009 reds.
Ellanelle Cellars (November) - Leonard and Leslie Brown are not exactly new to winemaking, as principals of the Watermill Winery in Milton Freewater, but their 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is an exceptional stand-alone effort, scoring 18.5+ points.
Proper Wines (December) - This is a venture of David Houle, Conor McCluskey and other investors from Colorado who planted a vineyard in "The Rocks" of the South Walla Walla Valley in 2006. The first commercial vintage, a 2010 Syrah is an impressive debut, earning 19 points.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 13:31
Two Bargains / Impressive DeLille Wines
Written by Rand Sealey
Thursday, 22 November 2012 14:27
We have much to be thankful for: family, friends and good life. Be sure to celebrate the day with fine Washington State wines.
Two Red Wine Bargains
Recently, I picked up a couple of wines at Esquin that offer exceptional quality for their price levels, both from the 2007 vintage, a fine one for Washington wines.
2007 Zanzibar Cellars "Sandra" Red, Horse Heaven Hills, Alder Creek Vineyard ($15.99 - originally $43)
This comes from a winery in St. Paul, Oregon, but is made from 100% Washington grapes. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, it displays a deep ruby color and an intriguing nose of raspberry cherry, cassis, sandalwood, rose petals, cigar box and oriental incense. The dark fruit flavors are begining to round out, underlain with notes of roasted cacao and coffee beans and Horse Heaven earth minerals. The back reveals sensations of roasted berries and nutmeats, and touches of leather and caramel, followed by a lightly spiced finish whose tannins are smoothing out. 18.5/20 points.
2007 Canoe Ridge Vineyard Merlot, Block 13, Columbia Valley ($18.99 - originally $45)
This Merlot was originally made to be sold only at the winery tasting room in Walla Walla. It comes comes from a selected block on the vineyard above the Columbia River. Deep garnet colored, it emits a rich nose of blackberry, cherry, cassis, dried roses, cigar box, rubbed sage and smoldering incense. The flavors are thick and supple, marked by licorice, chocolate, espresso and Columbia River basaltic minerals. The old vine character continues on the back with notes of fruit confit, dried cherries, roasted nuts and toasty oak on a lingering finish whose tannins and acids are rounding out nicely. Posesses depth and complexity at a bargain price. 18.5+/20 points.
Impressive New Wines from DeLille Cellars
Last Saturday, we visited DeLille Cellars' Carriage House tasting room in Woodinville. In addition to the new releases which will be reviewed in the January issue of the Review of Washington Wines, we tasted three wines which are for Wine Club members only. They are so impressive that they merit your considering joining the club.
2010 DeLille Cellars Merlot, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($49)
From 30 year old vines at Mike Sauer's vineyard, this wine displays a deep ruby color and seductive aromas of fraises de bois, cherries, plums, attar of rose and oriental perfumes. The seduction continues on the palate with layers of vibrant fruits, underlain with licorice, chocolate, French roast and alluvial minerals. The back reveals sensations of kirsch liqueur, roasted nuts and squeezed juices, followed by a lingering soft tannin finish. Beautifully proportioned from beginning to end, this gets 19+/20 points.
2010 DeLille Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 1, Red Mountain ($62)
This is a blend of four of the finest vineyards on Red Mountain: Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, Upchurch and Grand Ciel. Deep purplish colored, it emits powerful aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, orange peel, attar of rose and smoldering incense. The powerfulness continues on the palate with bold dark fruits that are underpinned with black licorice, dark chocolate, Sumatra roast and Red Mountain scorched earth and minerals. The back palate abounds with macerated saturated fruits, kirsch liqueur, creme de cassis and roasted nuts, followed by a lingering ripe tannin finish. Terroir driven and impeccably structured and proportioned, this wine will age well for 10 years or more. 19.5/20 points.
2010 DeLille Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Lot 2, Red Mountain ($62)
From the Upchurch Vineyard, this is DeLille Cellars' first 100% Certified Sustainably Farmed Cabernet. Deep ruby colored, it shows seductive aromas of blackberry, cherry, cassis, crushed roses, tobacco, and incense. The dark fruit flavors are thick, chewy and terroir driven, without being at all heavy, intermixed with licorice, dark chocolate, French roast and scorched earth minerals. The back reveals sensations of squeezed berries, cherry brandy, pencil lead and mocha, followed by persistent fruit on the ripe, grainy tannin finish. 19+/20 points.
The December Issue of the Review of Washington Wines goes on line November 30th.
This issue will have over fifty new wines reviewed, including ones from the Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla Valley's Fall Release Weekend and more. Watch for it!
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 November 2012 16:36
The Reynvaan Retrospective Tasting
Written by Rand Sealey
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:00
During Fall Release Weekend the Reynvaans - Mike, Gale, Amanda, Angela and Matt - held retrospective tastings on Friday and Saturday of all the wines Reynvaan Family Vineyards has produced from the 2007 through 2011 vintages, It was an awesome event, tasting through 21 wines, all exceptional. Below are my notes. Because of the number of wines and amount of time to go through them, these are capsule descriptions rather than my usual nose to finish detailed reviews.
The wines were grouped by bottlings:
Foothills in the Sun - This is the Estate Vineyard, planted in 2007, adjacent to the winery. It is so named because of its location in the sun-drenched foothills of the Blue Mountains.
2010 - Showed the strength and structure of the vintage, with fine aromatics of blackberry, blueberry, roses, lavender and violets.2011 - Crimson colored, with aromas of wild berries, lavender, rose and orange peel. Deep, focused raspberry and cassis fruits.
2011 - A fine example of the strength and structure of the vintage, with fine aromatics of blackberry, blueberry, roses, lavender and violets.
The Unnamed - When the first vintage was bottled, it was called "The Unnamed" because the Reynvaans hadn't come up with a name for it yet. That designation stuck, and stayed on as the wine's name. Co-fermented with a bit of Viognier.
2008 - A classic 2008 Syrah: Smoky, perfumed aromas and thick, earthy chewy flavors, showing varietal character all the way through.
2009 - Typical of a warmer year, this vintage showed ripe, smoky aromas and generous flavors, marked by ripe, dryish tannins.
2010 - Showed smoky, exotic perfumes, ripely fruited with long, mouth-encompassing fruit.
2011 - This exhibited a brilliant ruby color an a ripe nose of blackberry and cassis, with a full, intense mix of fruits and earth.
In the Rocks - So called, because it comes from "The Rocks" in the South Valley in the bed of the Wala Walla River before it changed to its present course. Co-fermented with varying percentages of Viognier and Marsanne.
2007 - Brick red colored, it showed a sultry, smoky nose with oriental perfrumes. Thick and meaty, with macerated fruits and a touch of leather.
2008 - Redolent of exotic perfumes, with thick, mouth-permeating fruits, beginning to round out, marked by chewy tannins.
2009 - This showed the essence of Syrah: perfumes of roses, violets and lavender, with thick, chewy, minerally dark fruit flavors.
2010 - Deep purple colored, the perfumes jumped out of the glass, followed by supple, mouth-filling flavors, the essence of the rocks, with a touch of leather.
2011 - This barrel sample showed an already seductive nose of wild berries and lavender, with focused essence of Syrah.
The Contender - Each vintage of this wine has been a contender for top ranking. Co-fermented with undisclosed amounts of Marsanne.
2007 - Garnet-colored, this showed a smoky nose, just begining to mature, with thick, black fruits throughout, intermixed with earth, game and minerals.
2008 - Showed rich, smoky aromas and thich chocolately black fruits, orange peel and dryish tannins.
2009 - Sultry perfumes, pepper and spice. Thich, chewy and meaty, with touches of orange peel and leather.
2010 - Rose and violet scented, this showed generous fruit, stony minerals, orange peel and dried berries.
2011 - This is a comer. The barrel sample showed lovely perfume (roses, violets) and broad, yet focused bright red/blue fruit flavors, with much elegance and complexity.
Stonessence - This is a "Reserve" expressing the essence of the "Rocks," (hence the name)
2009 - Still young, this showed rich aromas of berries, roses, lavender and smoldering incense, with thick, chewy flavors, accented by touches of orange peel, leather and stony minerals.
2010 Opaque colored, this emited a smoldering nose of black currants, attar of rose, incense, accompanied by lavish, mouth-encompassing fruit flavors. Rated 20/20 points on release, it still merits this score, and has a great future.
2011 - Crimson colored, this vintage showed scents of lavender, lilac and violets with elegant fruits intermixed with earth and minerals. Highly promising.
All of these wines are of high quality and would score 19 points or higher. I found the 2009 In the Rocks, the 2009 and 2010 Contender and the 2009 and 2010 Stonessence particularly compelling, scoring 19.5 or 20 points. The 2011's, from a vintage with a reputation for being "difficult," showed particularly well, offering much promise.
This was a particulary memorable tasting. Mike Reynvaan said they probably will never do a tasting like this again.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 19:08
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