Looking Ahead to April

At this time, we are working on the April issue3 of the Review of Washington Wines. In that issue will be early Walla Walla Spring releases from Pepper Bridge, Isenhower Cellars, Moonbase Cellars, and L'Ecole No. 41 (outstanding 2020 reds). On March 11 and 12, we will be in Woodinville to taste recent releases from JM Cellars, Efeste, DeLille Cellars and Avennia. In April, there will be new vintages from Cairdeas in Chelan, Longship Cellars in Richland and Patterson Cellars in Walla Walla. There will be a bevy of new 2022 Rosés. The April issue will go on line March 24.

The 2016 Reds of Pepper Bridge

On February 26, we visited the Pepper Bridge Winery in the South Valley. In addition to the recently 2020 Reds (to be reviewed in April), there were two impressive 2016 reds. They were from a relatively warm vintage which resulted in ripe, well balanced wines. The 2016's are entering an ideal drinking time frame. Here are our notes. Both are available from the winery.

2016 Pepper Bridge Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($75) - This Merlot (with 14% Cab Franc and 8% Malbec) shows a maturing ruby-garnet color and a rich bouquet of raspberries, black cherries, plums, tobacco, semi dried fruits, crushed roses, sandalwood, sage and stick incense. The flavors are well developed, classic Walla Walla Merlot, with notes of licorice root, cocoa, French roast and silty earth. On the back, the wine rounds out with roasted berries and nuts and graphite, followed by a lingering tannin finish that is smoothing out. 19+/20 points.

2016 Pepper Bridge "Trine" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($80) - This blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec shows a deep ruby-crimson color and rich aromas of raspberry, cherry, cassis, crushed semi-dried roses, tobacco, sandalwood, dried violets and incense. The flavors are ample yet deep and focused, with notes of licorice, roasted coffee beans and earth. The wine rounds out on the back with roasted berries and nuts, mocha, toffee and graphite, all gliding into a long sweet-dry tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.

A Superb Vintage Champagne

A few weeks ago, Gilles Nicault (Long Shadows) gave us a bottle of Champagne Copinet Millesime 2013 and asked me to let him know what I thought of it. We had it on our 49th Anniversary on March 1st and loved it. It comes from a respected Recoltant-Manipulant (grower-producer).

2013 Copinet Champagne, Brut "Monsieur Leonard" (59.99 - Esquin) - Produced from 100% Chardonnay, this displays a brilliant lemon-gold color, streaming pinpoint bubbles and seductive aromas of Bosc pear, white peach, pear blossoms, acacia flowers, wisteria, brioche and hazelnut. The flavors are exquisitely wrought with precise laser-like white fruits that are still strikingly vivid (preserved by CO2), marked by pear skins, peach stones and stony minerals. The complexity continues on the back with poire William liqueur and recurring brioche and hazelnut, followed by an ultra-long true Brut finish. A super buy when compared to the big-name Champagne houses. 19.5/20 points.