By Zacchoreli Frescobaldi-Grimaldi
Riddled with many wonderful wineries, Walla Walla is one of those places where one couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting an award winning wine maker. Annette Bergevin, co-owner of Bergevin Lane Vineyards, is one of those winemakers. Annette’s focused attention and nose-to-the-grindstone management of the winery and estate vineyard, and relationship with vineyard growers assures oenophiles an exceptional assortment of grape-centric libations.
While the tasting room has a certain “Pacific Northwest but wish it were Mediterranean” feel, it is still a comfortable place to meet a dozen friends and sample some exceptional wines. Sure, the tasting room rocks, but the craft of wine making actually occurs in the pristine stainless steel shrine that is the property’s epicenter. An onsite laboratory, 22 stainless steel tanks, three temperature controlled and humidified barrel rooms and an annual production of 11,000 cases of wine certainly puts Bergevin Lane Vineyards on the map to wine Nirvana.
There are, quite naturally, those who would eschew wine in favor of some other refreshment: Perfectly fine, even more wine for the rest of us! Of course, Annette will do her best to win these miscreants over. A third generation Walla Walla Valley farmer, she has demonstrated a pugnacious determination to successfully compete with some of the best winemakers in the region. In 2012 she was honored by Washington State University during the Feast of the Arts dinner with a distinguished alumnus award. Bergevin Lane Vineyards is definitely one of Washington’s wineries to watch: one may confidently anticipate a colorful and tasty future for Annette. Order these wines online at www.bergevinlane.com or better yet, visit the tasting room!
The 2010 “Wild Child” is a mouth watering Merlot, beautifully balanced with stone fruit, chocolate and tobacco notes. This is a wonderful wine by itself, yet paired with a nice juicy grilled hamburger, sun-dried tomato tapenade, or a nice Reblochon cheese gratin with crusty bread brings out the depth of flavor hiding in this rambunctious little wine. Hints of allspice and tarragon give away to subtle cinnamon notes. Merlot from Stone Tree Vineyard in Wahluke Slope spent 18 months in oak barrels where it took full advantage of its accommodations. Only 500 cases of this gem were produced, and at about $28 a bottle, inventory will be depleted in no time.
A production characteristic that one should value about Bergevin Lane Vineyards is the attention to detail. She-Devil 2011 Syrah is one of those wines that refuse to be ignored. One lingers over each flavorful sip, absorbed in the deep rich berry and chocolate flavors. Accustomed to being the center of attention, She-Devil would rather not share the spotlight; but if she must – she will tolerate a light salad dressed in olive oil and Asiago cheese. However, I must admit She-Devil pairs quite well with a lovely Salad Nicoise. Try it and discover how delicate flavors reminiscent of deep rich espresso and ripe juicy currants emerge. This 100% Syrah is a bargain at $24 a bottle, and – be warned – it won’t last long.
Love Struck 2012 Viognier is one of the year’s white wine best buys at $22 a bottle. It’s as if this wine can barely contain itself: the combination of tropical and stone fruits flood the olfactory senses. Paired with a creamy clam chowder, or mussels in a light curry cream sauce accentuates the nut, pineapple, peach and pear flavors. Of course, this wine is a terrific sipping wine, but oh, how it comes alive with just a little snack.
Fermented in small oak barrels, the 2012 Dreamweaver Rousanne is like sucking on a fruity butterscotch candy without the sweetness! The delicate soft and stone fruit notes come together with the soft vanilla of the oak to create an explosion of flavors. Preserve the delicate features of this remarkable wine, sip it in a sunny garden and leave the cheese plate alone. Annette made only 112 cases of this wine, and at $24 they will not last long!
The 2010 Calico Red, on the other hand, was produced in much larger quantities and it harbors rich raspberry and bing cherry aromas. At $13.99 a bottle, it is an unassuming little wine packed with rich smokey flavors reminiscent of decadently dark chocolate and vanilla bean pods. Sip a glass as your “everyday” red wine, or pair it with a marinara dressed pasta dish, spaghetti, ravioli – doesn’t matter – it’s all good.