Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Fall, 2021
For the week of December 12, 2021: Beaumont Cellars 2018 Reserve Petite Verdot – If you love big red wines, this Red Mountain AVA-sourced Petite Verdot will have you absolutely swooning. Compact fruit flavors of blueberry preserves, blackberry cobbler, and cherry reduction sauce are capped with touches of dark chocolate and cassis. There’s also a nice savory/herbal note on the extreme finish, with plenty of tannic structure to balance everything out. A much deserved Double Gold winner at the 2021 Bellingham NW Wine Competition. Beaumont tasting rooms are located in both Quincy and Woodinville, with a third scheduled for the Crescent Bar area in Central Washington.
For the week of December 5, 2021: Goose Ridge Vineyards Vido Vodka – Yes, Goose Ridge Vineyards produces a vodka that is distilled from premium wine grapes…and it is delicious! Go to the “Heard Through the Grapevine” Page for more information.
For the week of November 28, 2021: Columbia Winery Single Vineyard Collection 2017 Weinbau Vineyard Merlot – Weinbau is located in Washington’s Wahluke Slope AVA, which is one of the warmest wine grape growing regions in the state. But that doesn’t mean that wines from this area are automatically big, bold, and brash and this Merlot from Columbia Winery is a perfect example. It opens with a beautiful bouquet of wild blackberries, followed by blueberry and brambly raspberry flavors and a swirl of chocolate and vanilla wafer on the finish. Nice acidity and a bit of textured tannins accentuate an otherwise round and velvety finish.
For the week of November 21, 2021: Tsillan Cellars 2018 Estate Cabernet Franc – What to make of this Bordeaux-based varietal, consistently in Washington’s top 5 in terms of production? There’s no love/hate, polarizing relationship (think Pinot Noir) among wine drinkers; it’s more of a “take it or leave it” attitude that seems to prevail. So here’s a selection that’s definitely an, “I’ll have a second glass” Cab Franc, especially when paired with beef stew, pork sausage, lamb burgers, and yes, even Thanksgiving turkey. Savory elements of sweet tobacco and sautéed mushrooms are backed with dried cherry and black currant fruit, along with a finish that suggests a touch of crème brulee. There’s plenty of firm, tannic structure and a good bit of acidity as well, making this well-balanced wine from winemaker Ray Sandidge an excellent, food-friendly choice.
For the week of November 14, 2021: Sagemoor Wines 2020 Estate White Blend – This lovely white Bordeaux blend should be a prime candidate for your Thanksgiving dinner, delivering depth and character at a very reasonable price. The 72% portion of Sauvignon Blanc provides plenty of brisk citrus for starters, but it’s the remaining 28% Semillon that really stands out…contributing flavors of Bosc pear and lemon creme along with notes of field clover and beeswax for a round finish with great mouthfeel. Sourced from three highly pedigreed vineyards in Washington’s White Bluffs AVA: Bacchus, Dionysus, and Gamache, you’ll find it nicely priced in the $15 to $17 range.
For the week of November 7, 2021: Gordon Brothers 2016 Estate Merlot – Established in the early 1980’s, Gordon Brothers is one of Washington State’s oldest wineries. They’ve recently opened up a new tasting room in Kennewick at Columbia Village Wine Gardens next to Cave B, Bartholomew, and Palencia/Monarcha wineries. This delicious, fruit-forward Merlot was aged nearly two years in the barrel, and carries lovely black cherry aromatics and flavors along with touches of dried fruits, caramel, and toast. The finish is rich and lengthy, making it an instantly enjoyable, ready-to-drink choice. Visit the tasting room for a substantial discount from the $24-a-bottle price. The 2017 vintage is also currently available.
For the week of October 31, 2021: Rocky Pond Winery 2019 Stratastone Red Wine– Director of Winemaking Shane Collins has crafted this spectacular blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre sourced from the winery’s Double D estate vineyard near Lake Chelan. Intoxicating aromatics of red fruits, orange zest, and violets lead to luscious blackberry and blueberry flavors, savory herbs, and hints of dark chocolate and cardamom on the finish. After decanting, you’ll find that the wine carries a soft, velvety texture throughout and is absolutely perfect for sipping and savoring on its own.
For the week of October 24, 2021: Kiona Vineyards & Winery 2020 Chenin Blanc – The Red Mountain winery does it again with this absolutely incredible release of one of Washington’s classic varietals, Chenin Blanc. Gentle peach and tropical fruit aromatics start you off, with big, juicy Golden Delicious apple and Bartlett pear flavors on the palate. There’s a nice splash of acidity on the finish, accompanied by a bit of citrus and a whisper of sweetness. This versatile wine should be at the top of your list as a crowd-pleasing white wine choice for your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. Exceptional!
For the week of October 17, 2021: Welcome Road Winery 2019 Envoler – Bellingham’s newest winery is definitely worth checking out, and this selection is one of the star attractions. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, it opens with smoky aromatics followed by black cherry and plum fruit and a well-structured finish with touches of baking spice and perfectly balanced acidity.
Everything on the list of current releases is elegant and well-crafted, including two other red blends: the easy-to-drink and delicious 2018 Roadtrip Red, and the gorgeous 2017 L’Oiseau. The winery’s flagship tasting room is located in West Seattle.
For the week of October 10, 2021: Valdemar Estates 2020 Columbia Valley Roussanne – When winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla “unretired” after an amazing run at Forgeron Cellars to join Valdemar in 2018, she resumed her mastery of varietals such as Chardonnay and Roussanne. This selection is another one of her incredible white wines; it’s a sensory delight and absolutely perfect for sipping and savoring. Aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, Asian pear, and banana-nut bread fill the glass, with a lengthy finish that’s both round and slightly textured. It pairs nicely with Tortilla de Patatas (a combination of onions and potatoes poached in olive oil), which just so happens to be on the winery’s current tapas menu.
For the week of October 3, 2021: Dunham Cellars 2018 Lewis Vineyard Riesling – This stunning Riesling from the Walla Walla winery shows how beautiful this white varietal can be after a few years of aging. Nectarine, Bartlett pear, honeydew melon, and lychee fruit predominate, with great acidity that meshes perfectly with the 1.8% residual sugar content to give you a crisp, yet juicy finish. This wine could easily pair with just about anything on your charcuterie plate, from creamy to well-aged cheeses or prosciutto to spicy salami. Nicely priced at only around $20 a bottle and a must-try for any Washington Riesling lover.
For the week of September 26, 2021: Wind Rose Cellars 2016 Hunters Red – Winemaker David Volmut specializes in Italian varietals, but he’s also crafting some excellent wines using grapes with Spanish and French origins. For this selection, he blended a base of 76% Grenache with Syrah and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. The results are a complex, layered, and food-worthy wine that earned him a 95-point score and Double Gold honors at the 2021 Bellingham Northwest Wine Judged Competition.
Grenache is clearly the star in the opening act, with generous bright red currant and red berries up front with the Syrah and Cab adding a second stanza of dark plum fruit along with touches of cedar, toasted almond, and a whisper of smokiness on the finish. Try it with duck, veal or pork tenderloin. Wind Rose Cellars’ tasting room is in the town of Sequim, located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.