Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Fall, 2017
For the week of December 10, 2017: Rulo Winery 2015 Combine – Kurt and Vicki Schlicker have been making killer Syrahs from their Walla Walla winery for years, but don’t overlook their underrated and incredibly reasonably priced white Rhone varietals as well. This combination of Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Picpoul Blanc displays lots of citrus throughout, but there’s also nice underlying flavors of green melon and white peach. It goes for only $20, and should pair beautifully with any kind of poultry from chicken to roast turkey to Christmas goose.
For the week of December 3, 2017: L’Ecole No. 41 2016 Chardonnay – The term “Washington Wine Industry Pioneer” seems to get tossed around a lot, but you’ll get no argument from anyone that Walla Walla winemaker Marty Clubb doesn’t belong in that category. His winery was established in 1983 – ancient by state standards – and consistency and quality have been L’Ecole’s hallmark since day one. This flat-out delicious selection is classic Washington Chardonnay: beautiful ripe, golden apple flavors with an underlying sprinkle of baking spice and creamy, toasty oak on the finish.
For the week of November 26, 2017: Amavi Cellars 2014 Syrah – Syrah may very well be the Walla Walla Valley’s signature grape, and this wine, sourced from five of the region’s vineyards is, quite simply, classic stuff. Inky, black currant and black plum fruit, underlying notes of espresso and spice, and a slightly chewy finish with a savory, slightly edgy finish sum up this impeccably balanced wine. Extremely reasonably priced (about $33 and you’re getting 100% Walla Walla fruit) and also currently available in the 2015 vintage.
For the week of November 19, 2017: Truth Teller Winery 2014 Satire Red Wine Blend – Winemaker Chris Loeliger has crafted another stunning wine in this Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Beautiful blackberry fruit is prevalent from beginning to end, with nuances of herbaceousness and a velvety soft finish that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Try it with prime rib or pork tenderloin or forego the food pairing and enjoy this drop-dead gorgeous red on its own as an indoor/beside-the-fire autumnal sipper.
For the week of November 12, 2017: Newsprint Wines 2015 Red Blend – This overachieving second label from Woodinville’s Guardian Cellars is a winner. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Syrah combine to bring you a red wine packed with dense black cherry and berry flavors and chewy tannins that suggest aeration (and a practically mandatory beef pairing) or excellent cellaring potential. This wine delivers plenty of character at a heck-of-a-deal $18 price tag.
For the week of November 5, 2017: Kiona Vineyards & Winery 2015 Lemberger – Kiona’s John Williams is truly Washington State wine industry royalty. One of the first to plant grapes in the Red Mountain AVA, he’s since turned over winemaking duties to his son Scott, who has taken the winery to new heights. This Lemberger is nothing short of spectacular…dark currant and plum fruits, a bit of texture that makes it a touch more full-bodied than usual, and incredible length and depth. At $15 it demands a case purchase, and, like John Williams typifies the spirit of Kiona wines: unassuming, yet solid, and representative of Washington’s best.
For the week of October 29, 2017: Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2015 Shepard’s Mark – This Roussanne/Marsanne/Viognier blend has been a perennial favorite, and winemaker Jarrod Boyle does not disappoint with another stellar selection. Wonderfully complex, with aromas of field flowers and clover, it features gentle stone fruit flavors and a faint, citrusy finish. Avoid overchilling by serving it at cool room temperature, and this wine will make an excellent addition to your traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner.
For the week of October 22, 2017: In observance of the damages to several California wineries during this fall’s wildfires, Dan presented a special update that focused on the area. UC Davis Viticulture and Enology reports that only a very small percentage of the State’s wineries were effected and they encourage everyone to continue their support through tourism and by spreading the word that many wineries, while still in recovery mode, are open for business.
For the week of October 15, 2017: Ryan Patrick Wines 2016 Rose – Who says you should only serve Rose during the spring and summer months? This Rhone-style blend (Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvedre) from the Leavenworth winery is full of strawberry, green melon, rhubarb, and pie cherry flavors, with great acidity and a bone-dry finish. The lack of sweetness makes it an excellent pairing partner, for example, with a charcuterie plate with assorted meats, cheeses, and a nice loaf of rustic bread…and that’s enjoyable any time of year.
For the week of October 8, 2017: Siren Song Wines 2016 “Spanish Dancer” Albarino – Many Chelan wineries are going upscale and selling the “experience” of the area’s natural beauty and tasting room amenities to complement their quality wines. Siren Song is one of those wineries, and Holly and Kevin Brown have done an amazing job of providing a first-class facility with wines to match. This stunning Albarino is packed with honeydew melon and tangerine aromatics and flavors that lead to a crisp finish with bracing acidity and a touch of orange zest. A pleasure to taste and worth searching out for anyone visiting the Lake Chelan AVA.
For the week of October 1, 2017: Nefarious Cellars 2016 Viognier – Heather and Dean Neff are practically “old timers” as far as Chelan wineries are concerned. They’ve been around longer than most, and this selection from their estate planted Defiance Vineyard shows that things truly get better with age. This wine displays the aromas and flavors of peach and nectarine you’d expect from a Viognier, but the finish has more of an edgier quality to it, with crisp ruby red grapefruit and a touch of minerality. It’s a nice, refreshing alternative to bigger, rounder Washington Viogniers that you might be used to.