Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Fall, 2019

For the week of October 20, 2019: Claar Cellars 2015 Cabernet-Merlot – Looking for a solid, well-priced Washington red at an affordable price? At about $15 a bottle, this selection from the Pasco-based winery should make everyone happy. Fresh blackberry aromatics and flavors, a touch of green herbs, and slightly chalky tannins come to the forefront; the finish lingers with undertones of dried black cherries, chocolate, and cocoa powder. Claar Cellars’ winemaker, Dave Harvey, steps in here after a nice tenure at Walla Walla’s Bergevin Lane Vineyards, and makes Claar a winery to keep your eye on as time progresses.

For the week of October 13, 2019: Nefarious Cellars 2016 RX-3 – There are a lot of husband-and-wife winemaking teams in Washington, and Dean and Heather Neff (pictured at right) come to mind as one of the top-tier couples…producing great wines from their beautiful facility near the south shore of Lake Chelan. Their ‘RX-3,’ a combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre hits all the right notes, with a base of cherry and red plum fruit followed by green tea and gentle clovy/cinnamon-spice finishing notes. The wine’s flavors, tannins, and acidity are perfectly balanced, and prime rib, duck, and pork tenderloin come to mind as potentially excellent food-pairing partners.

For the week of October 6, 2019: Mellisoni Vineyards 2016 Forte Rosso – Chelan’s Rob and Donna Mellison will have you swooning over this big, bold blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Blackberries, Liguria cherry, fig, and chocolate flavors are accented with floral notes and a touch of mint. Big tannins on the finish suggest a bit of aeration time before enjoying or, better yet, pop this one in the cellar for another three to five years as it promises to only get better. Outstanding!

For the week of September 29, 2019: Dynasty Cellars N/V Irresponsible Red Wine – Italy meets France in this completely unconventional blend of Barbera, Syrah, and Merlot that works on every level. Gorgeous red fruits of currant, cherry, and plum are backed with nice finishing acidity and just enough tannic structure for character without preventing it from being instantly enjoyable. This is a versatile wine that should pair well with everything from pork chops to pasta with Bolognese sauce, and at just $18 a bottle, you can afford to stock up on it by the case.

For the week of September 22, 2019: Bayernmoor Cellars 2017 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir – Owner Larry Harris is on a mission to produce some of the best Pinot Noir in the world…and he’s off to a great start with this inaugural release, sourced from the winery’s estate vineyard near Stanwood. Bayernmoor Winemaker Brian Carter has crafted this gem of a wine, which leads off with lovely floral and herbal aromas followed by flavors of wild strawberry, pomegranate, rhubarb, and a touch of vanilla bean. This wine is brimming with character, and yet there’s a decidedly delicate quality hidden within this stunning, ruby-tinted package that will have you savoring every sip.

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