Next weekend, May 5-7 will be Spring Release Weekend in the Walla Walla Valley. A lot of new wines will be poured. As a guide to wineries to visit, here are previews of new releases from wineries we've already visited. Full reviews will be in the June issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
The Walla Walla Community College's Institute for Enology and Viticulture has three new whites and three reds. If you are looking for value, this is a place to go to.
2022 Riesling, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($20) - This offers floral aromas of pear, peach, apricot lime, honeysuckle and white incense with bright white fruits and a medium dry finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2021 Roussanne, Walla Walla Valley, Anderson Vineyard ($20) - With aromas of pear-apple, peach and lime and scents of honeysuckle and jasmine, along with deliciously ripe and juicy flavors, this delivers a lot for the modest price. 19/20 points.
2021 Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley, Anderson Vineyard ($20) - This possesses considerable varietal character, with pleasingly juicy yellow fruits that are accented by grape and pear skins and saline minerals and touches of pecan and creme fraiche. 18.5+/20 points.
2019 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, Clarke Vineyard ($30) - This has the Merlot earmarks of raspberry, cherry and plum, red roses, tobacco, black tea and roasted nuts, followed by a chewy tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2019 "Laurelia" Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($30) - This is a standout. It offers rich aromas of raspberry, cherry and red currant with generous yet focused red fruit flavors that lead seamlessly into a long, satiny sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Summit View Vineyard ($30) - Classically-styled with rich aromas and authoritative flavors and a long, firm yet ripe tannin finish, this tastes like a $50 Cabernet. 19/20 points.
Reininger / Helix
Here, I tasted three delicious 2022 whites, one Rosé and an impressive 2020 "BDX" Red Blend.
2022 Helix Sangiovese Rosé, Royal Slope, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($25) - Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this is a charming Rosé. It shows a pink-copper color and aromas of strawberry, pink cherry and pink grapefruit and brisk and fresh fruit flavors, and a mouthwatering finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2022 Helix Chardonnay, Royal Slope, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($26) - Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this is attractively styled with floral aromas and yellow fruits that are enriched by sur lie stirring and poire and pêche liqueurs. 19/20 points.
2022 Helix Viognier, Royal Slope, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($32) - This is an outstanding Viognier that steers a mid course between the crisp and tropical styles. It shows remarkable precision and well delineated flavors. 19+/20 points.
2022 Reininger Semillon, Walla Walla Valley ($30) - This shows what can be done with Semillon. It possesses intriguing aromas with whiffs of wintergreen and lemongrass and brisk yet viscous flavors with touches of beeswax and grapefruit peel. 19+/20 points.
2020 Reininger "BDX" Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley ($32) - Composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot and 10% Malbec, this offers rich aromas of Marionberry, cherry and plum with ample yet focused flavors. The back picks up mocha and plum preserves, followed by a ripe moderate tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
For spring, Kelsey Albro Itamera has turned out three interesting wines.
2022 Itä Rosé of Primitivo, Les Collines Vineyard ($28) - This clonal Zinfandel presents a pink-tinged light copper color and intriguing aromas of raspberry, pink cherry, orange and whiffs of garrigue. The flavors are lightly extracted yet mouth filling, with notes of cherry stones, framboise and light spices. 18.5/20 points.
2022 Itä Semillon, "1 of 2" Walla Walla Valley, Les Collines Vineyard ($28) - Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this offers aromas of white fruits, meadow flowers and wet stone, with viscous and brisk flavors and touches of beeswax and lime zest on a moderate alcohol (13.6%) finish 19/20 points.
2022 Itä Semillon, " 2of 2" Walla Walla Valley, Les Coillines Vineyard ($28) - This version was fermented and aged in neutral oak. It shows intriguing aromas of white and green fruits and wet stone. The flavors are fresh and round, with a sur lie textured back and nicely juiced low alcohol (11.4%) finish. 19/20 points.
Here, Jay Krutilis and Matt Reilly have turned out nice new wines, a 2022 Rosé and two whites.
2022 Prospice Rosé, Yakima Valley ($22) - Composed of 49% Grenache, 27% Cinauult and 24% Counoise, this is a charming Rosé. It shows a true pink color and aromas of strawberry, grapefruit and currant, with pink fruits that are accented by grape skins and minerals, followed by a brisk finish. 18.5/20 points.
2022 Prospice Viognier, White Bluffs, Gamache Vineyard ($30) - This steers a mid course between the crisp and tropical styles with floral aromas and vivid yellow and white fruits and calcareous minerals. The back picks up touches of cashew nuts, creme fraiche and lime zest. 18.5+/20 points.
2022 Prospice Grenache Blanc, Walla Walla Valley, Les Coillines Vineyard ($30) - This offers intriguing aromas of apple, peach, Key lime and vivid yellow and green fruit flavors that are imbued with saline minerals. lime zest and a hint of nougat. 18.5+/20 points.