Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Winter, 2018
For the week of March 11, 2018: Gravel Bar Winery 2015 Dry Riesling – Winemaker Joshua Maloney does a nice job with this oftentimes sweet varietal by limiting the sugar and focusing on the fruit and acidity qualities of the grape. Apple, citrus, mineral notes and a crisp, clean finish highlight a wine with excellent food-pairing potential that might include salmon or oysters. Served well-chilled, it also makes for a great aperitif.
For the week of March 4, 2018: Dama Wines 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – The stats are in for 2017 and Cabernet Sauvignon continues to dominate the Washington wine scene as the state’s most highly produced variety. Walla Walla’s Mary Derby demonstrates why this big, bold red wine is so popular by offering a multi-faceted Cab with both intensity and softness. Black cherry, black licorice and coffee flavors are at the heart of this wine, with trailing notes of savory herbs, minerality and a near-velvety finish. Gold medal winner at the 2017 Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival.
For the week of February 25, 2018: Dynasty Cellars Non-Vintage Irresponsible Red Wine – This latest version of Dynasty’s red wine blend provides further proof as to why it’s one of Whatcom County’s favorite wineries. Lovely red currant and cherry fruits fill the glass, with subtle complexities of clove, baking spice, and savory herbs on the finish. There’s just enough tannic structure lingering in the background to suggest additional cellaring, but the wine’s approachability and roughly $18-a-bottle price tag beg the question, “Why wait?”
For the week of February 18, 2018: Savage Grace Wines 2016 Gruner Veltliner – Gruner Veltliner is one of the current “darlings” of the Washington wine scene…and with good reason. It’s a flavorful, high acid white varietal that seems to have found a home, especially within the Columbia Gorge AVA. This selection from Woodinville winemaker Michael Savage is brimming with Granny Smith apple and green melon flavors along with underlying notes of sugar snap peas and slate-like minerality. There’s a weighty, near full-bodied character to this wine that’s balanced by a crisp finish with a mouthwatering kiss of lime citrus. Delicious and highly recommended.
For the week of February 11, 2018: Camaraderie Cellars 2010 Tempranillo – Finding older vintage wines can be challenging, but this selection from Don and Vicki Corson’s Port Angeles winery is still available on their web site. Dense, black currant and dried black cherry flavors are capped with a bit of chalky tannins and accents of leather and sweet cedar. Sourced from Yakima Valley grapes, this Spanish varietal shows that Washington’s tricky, cooler 2010 vintage is fully capable of yielding wines that benefit from some proper cellaring time and a little patience.
For the week of February 4, 2018: J Bookwalter 2016 Old Vine Chenin Blanc – This under-produced, underutilized, underappreciated varietal needs to be on your white wine list because of its great versatility as both a food-pairing wine and just a plain-old, delicious sipper. This lovely selection from the Richland winery has a beautiful golden color, honey-like fragrance, and gentle pineapple and tropical fruit flavors that end with a nice citrus edge and great acidity. Try it with the salad course, a pork tenderloin, or slightly spicy cuisine.
For the week of January 28, 2018: Coach House Cellars 2015 Garage Red Wine – The team of Paxton Rembert and Scott Whitman have been turning out some pretty impressive wines from their Bellingham winery…including this soon-to-be-released gem. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and packed with brambly berry flavors that are nicely balanced with sturdy tannins along with a touch of baking spice and black pepper on the finish. Completely overachieving at its $15-a-bottle price, this “drink it now or drink it later” selection practically demands a case purchase.
For the week of January 21, 2018: Drink Washington State 2014 Carmenere – This second label for Walla Walla’s Eternal Wines was the best-selling wine at last year’s wine store at the Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival. It’s superbly balanced with understated black currant, plum, and licorice flavors, finely integrated tannins, and a spritz of black pepper on the finish. This crowd-pleasing red promises to be even better with a pairing of beef tenderloin, prime rib, or a big, juicy burger.
For the week of January 14, 2018: Tucannon Cellars 2012 Syrah – Walla Walla’s Mill Creek Vineyards provide this Red Mountain winery with it’s grapes and the result is a pleasantly evolving, full-bodied Syrah. Candied fruit and dense black cherry flavors, along with a touch of toasted walnut, are backed by slightly chewy tannins on a lengthy finish. There’s a near-sweet quality to this wine that makes it a bit of a guilty pleasure…and perfect for sipping on a cold winter night.
For the week of January 7, 2018: Lost River Winery 2013 Nebbiolo – “Nebbiolo is really an interesting wine. Bright color, clarity…even the name sounds like a jewel,” says winemaker John Morgan. His latest interpretation of this underrated Italian varietal is another smashing success. Dried currant, strawberry, and cranberry flavors, a touch of black licorice on the finish, and bright, vibrant acidity make this an excellent choice to serve with pasta and Bolognese sauce. Sourced from the Rosebud Vineyard in Washington’s Wahluke Slope AVA.
For the week of December 31, 2017: For A Song 2015 Chardonnay – Looking for a budget-priced Chardonnay that still delivers in terms of flavor profile and character? This older vintage, but still available selection from the Seattle=based winery has you covered! Mouth-watering Bartlett pear and Golden Delicious apple flavors come to the forefront, with a creamy finish balanced by just the slightest trace of Ancient Lakes AVA steely minerality. Delicious, affordable (priced in the $10 to $12-a-bottle range) and perfect for those starting the New Year on a budget.
For the week of December 24, 2017: Love That Red “Stakes Race” 2014 Syrah – There’s a nice meaty quality to this Syrah, which was sourced from grapes from Walla Walla’s Les Collines and Patina Vineyards. The flavor profile runs from cassis to chocolate cherry to roasted coffee, with underlying accents of pepper, crushed herbs, and vanilla bean. Gentle tannins on the finish make this an easy-to-drink choice. A nice effort from the Woodinville winery, which has been garnering a lot of attention for its red wines as of late.