Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Summer, 2021
For the week of September 19, 2021: One Wines 2016 One Red – Jo and Greg Cowell take a unique approach at their Chelan tasting room; they only release one red, one white and one rose’ each year. This selection, sourced from Jarrod Boyle’s Destiny Ridge Vineyard is a spectacular effort, and the Cowells have blended this combination of Bordeaux varietals to perfection. Gorgeous aromatics and flavors of plum, blackberry, and cherry fill the glass and melt into an elegant finish with nuances of baking spice and beautifully integrated tannins. The 2016 vintage has just been released and was limited to 299 cases. Buy this wine now!
For the week of September 12, 2021: Coyote Canyon Winery 2017 Primitivo – Don’t like wimpy wines? This big, full-bodied red from winemaker Justin Michaud could be just what you’re looking for. Toasted hazelnut and walnut aromatics and flavors start you off, with robust fruit including dried cherry, red currant, and fig on the palate. The finish is bold and lengthy and capped with a hefty 15.6% alcohol content. Sourced from the winery’s vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.
For the week of September 5, 2021: Airfield Estates Winery 2020 Sauvignon Blanc – Airfield Estates’ vineyard, located in the Yakima Valley, is turning out some amazing fruit that is the basis for some truly remarkable wines. This outstanding Sauvignon Blanc absolutely explodes in the glass with white peach, citrus, and lemongrass, along with a finish of vibrant acidity to match the flavor profile. Perfect with shellfish or calamari, it also works as an excellent starter/’meet-and-greet’ wine to enjoy prior to serving lunch or dinner. The winery is based in Prosser, with additional tasting rooms in Woodinville and Vancouver, Washington.
For the week of August 29, 2021: L’atitude 47 West Coast Wines 2019 Avalanche’ – Keep your eye on this new Walla Walla winery, which is turning out some attention-grabbing wines primarily sourced from the Walla Walla Valley AVA. This blend of equal parts Marsanne and Viognier, combined with 10% Roussanne is a stunning, New World interpretation of Rhone Valley white varietals. Stone fruit and floral aromas lead to complex flavors of Meyer lemon, white ginger, and pineapple upside-down cake with a round, buttery finish. Double Gold medalist at the 2021 Bellingham NW Wine Judged Competition.
For the week of August 22, 2021: Mellisoni Vineyards 2020 Mellarci – Orange Muscat is used primarily for blending purposes, and even then only in small quantities. But for this wine, Rob and Donna Mellison allotted half of the finished product to Orange Muscat with the other half comprised of Gewurztraminer. The result is a fragrant, delicious, mouth-watering white wine that should be on your must-try list. Beautiful floral aromas lead off, with flavors of ruby red grapefruit, white peach, and spicy lychee. The finish is punctuated with orange zest, and the wine’s tiny bit of sweetness really pops when served with Mexican or Asian cuisine.
For the week of August 15, 2021: Edward Lynne Cellars 2020 Chardonnay – Bill and Sandy Kintner have cultivated a nice, family-owned winery at the north end of Camano Island with a sleek, functional tasting room and production facility they opened in early 2020. This tasty Chardonnay selection comes from the Lake Chelan AVA’s Dry Lake Vineyards. With no oak aging to overpower it, it displays some lovely Golden Delicious apple and pear fruit with a hint of lemon essence on the finish. Great to serve with pork or chicken, it also makes a nice summertime sipper when lightly chilled.
For the week of August 8, 2021: Mercer Bros. 2018 Merlot – Prosser-based Mercer Wine Estates has you covered with a huge variety of labels and price ranges that are classic representations of Washington wines. This under-$20 Merlot is delicious and drinkable now but also a prime candidate for the cellar for future enjoyment. Black currant and black plum fruits fill the glass before transitioning into a mouthful of brambly red raspberry flavors. There’s also a nice savory element to this wine, with undertones of blackberry patch and forest floor coming through on the finish. Fourteen months of aging in French and American oak also add a pleasant touch of toasted coconut to the finishing stanza.
For the week of August 1, 2021: Callan Cellars 2019 GSM – This newly released red blend with a base of 84% Syrah (sourced from the Yakima Valley’s Boushay Vineyards) is gorgeous from start to finish. Freshly brewed coffee aromatics lead off, with perfectly balanced fruit and savory flavors of dried cherry, sautéed mushrooms, and black licorice. Juicy blackberries and blueberries also come through on a rich, textured finish. A remarkable effort by Woodinville winemaker Lisa Callan, this wine shared the Best in Show award at the 2021 Bellingham NW Wine Competition.
For the week of July 25, 2021: Longship Cellars 2020 Mind and Memory Sauvignon Blanc – Richland winemaker Kyle Welch’s first effort at producing Sauvignon Blanc is a stunner that earned him shared Best in Show honors at the 2021 Bellingham NW Wine Festival Judged Competition. It opens with lovely floral and tropical aromas of roses, passion fruit, and guava, while the palate explodes with true-to-the-varietal flavors of kiwi, lemongrass, and citrus zest. Crisp, yet elegant, this wine is near perfection (98 points) in the glass. 233 cases produced and currently available for pre-order on the winery website for a September, 2021 release.
For the week of July 18, 2021: Moonbase Cellars 2019 Max Q Merlot – Newcomer winemaker Drew Pauk hits it out of the park with this grand slam of a Merlot, sourced from Winesap Vineyard in the The Rocks AVA. Tempting aromas of black raspberry lead to flavors of cherry preserves and cocoa bean on the palate, with smoky undertones, hints of anise, and a crack of black pepper on the finish. Layered, full of character, and beautifully crafted, this wine carries a sultry/sexy quality that is certain to get your attention. Only 120 cases produced. Double Gold medalist at the 2021 Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival Judged Competition.
For the week of July 11, 2021: Whitman Hill Winery 2018 Chardonnay – Bellingham resident Scott Whitman recently opened a tasting room for his brand new winery just north of the town of Zillah in Eastern Washington. He has big plans in the works that include producing wines from the 25-acre vineyard that adjoins the property. This stunner of a Chardonnay has a fabulous nose of apricot and peach nectar along with touches of caramel and buttery lemon on the palate. Lively acidity comes through on the finish and works as a nice contrast to the lightly oaked flavors that were coaxed during the aging process.
For the week of July 4, 2021: Vibe Cellars 2019 Gemelli Super Tuscan – If this wine is any indication of what to expect from this new Chelan winery then Winemaker/Co-Owner Erik Cooper has set the bar at an impressively high level. His blend of 75% Sangiovese and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon hits all the right notes; wonderfully complex aromas and flavors of roasted chestnuts, red cherry, dried currants, raspberries, and ripe plums are capped with a touch of minerality and spicy nuances on the finish. The fruit-forward character of the wine is framed with great acidity and silky tannins that all come together seamlessly. In a word: yummy!
For the week of June 27, 2021: Pacific Rim 2018 Gruner Veltliner – Sourced from Yakima Valley’s Spring Creek Vineyard, this is a perfect-for-summer white wine. It displays a bit of petrol and a sprinkling of black pepper on the nose to lead off and understated fruit flavors of green melon and citrus are balanced with savory nuances of alfalfa and wheat grass on a clean, laser-sharp finish. This is an outstanding food-paring wine; oysters on the half-shell, clams, mussels, and halibut top the seafood list, while prosciutto-wrapped honeydew or fresh pears served with Swiss or Irish cheddar make other terrific possibilities.
For the week of June 20, 2021: Flying Trout Winery Non-Vintage Grenache – Walla Walla winemaker Ashley Trout does a fine job with this tasty red wine that’s delicious on its own and extremely food-friendly as well. It opens with smoky/earthy aromatics, followed by generous red currant and juicy cherry flavors, while the grape’s signature acidity really shines through on the finish. This wine makes a (somewhat surprisingly) great choice to serve with well-seasoned or spicy cuisine such as enchiladas or paella; and at only about $20 a bottle, you can afford to stock up on it for your next summer barbeque as well.