Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Winter, 2022
For the week of January 30, 2022: Rain Shower Cellars 2017 Red Wine Blend – Coupeville winemaker Sean Merrill does a fine job with this gem of a red wine using Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes from Antoine Creek Vineyards in the Lake Chelan AVA. There’s plenty of big, juicy, wild blackberry fruit throughout, balanced by slightly savory nuances of crushed herbs and a spritz of white pepper. The velvety-soft finish suggests dried cherries, dark chocolate, and espresso with nicely integrated tannins. Available only at the winery tasting room on Whidbey Island, and well worth the trip.
For the week of January 23, 2022: Succession Wines 2020 Chardonnay – Lake Chelan winemaker Brock Lindsay absolutely nails it with this won’t-last-long current release that is practically guaranteed to put a smile on your face. A sensory delight, this Chardonnay greets you with a striking, straw-yellow hue followed by butterscotch aromatics and layers of guava, papaya, and pineapple tropical fruit. Ripe peach and quince flavors linger in the background of a big, round finish along with touches of toasted oak, banana, and vanilla-butter. Decadent and delicious! Sourced from Conner Lee Vineyards in the Royal Slope AVA; only 166 cases produced.
For the week of January 16, 2022: Lost River Winery 2018 Barbera – John Morgan has only been making Barbera for three years, and his latest release of this Italian-based varietal is mind-numbingly good. Gorgeous blackberry and black currant aromas and flavors fill the glass, with underlying notes of chocolate, toffee, licorice, and fig. The finish is big and round with spicy accents and great staying power. This Barbera carries a darker color and more heft than its European counterparts and that makes it an instant classic for New World/Washington wine enthusiasts who are likely to prefer its full-bodied style. Try it with pork chops, pheasant, or sauteed mushrooms or pour yourself a glass and savor it on its own.
For the week of January 9, 2022: Zerba Cellars 2018 Estate Dolcetto – Although it’s a stone’s throw across the state line, Washington likes to consider Zerba as one of it’s own, especially since the Oregon winery’s Cockburn Vineyard is located within the federally-designated Walla Walla Valley AVA. This incredible wine starts with lovely floral aromatics, and the wonderfully complex flavor profile includes both understated fruit and savory components. Forest floor, mushrooms, and sweet cedar are complemented with cherry licorice, dried red currant, and blueberry flavors; and the finish lingers with touches of walnut, butterscotch, and gentle smoky accents along with bracing acidity. Double gold medalist at the 2021 Bellingham NW Wine Competition and Platinum winner at the Great Northwest Wine 2021 ‘Best of the Best’ Judging.
For the week of January 2, 2022: Upcoming new releases from Palencia Winery – Victor Palencia has a full slate of new releases lined up for 2022. My tasting notes for several of these wines can be found in a separate post under “New Northwest Wine Recommendations.” Cheers!
For the week of December 26, 2021: Isenhower Cellars 2019 Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Roussanne Extra Brut – Walla Walla winemaker Brett Isenhower takes a very “non-sparkling” varietal, Roussanne, and crafts it into a refreshing wine made in the Methode Champenoise style. Lightly golden in color, the flavor profile opens with suggestions of Rainier cherry and stone fruit along with touches of almond and citrus rind. Ishenhower keeps the finish dry and crisp, deftly balanced with a note of rounder, baked apple fruit. Grapes were sourced from the Yakima Valley’s Olsen Ranch Vineyard.
For the week of December 19, 2021: Bookwalter Cellars NV15 Notebook Red Wine – This latest version of the Notebook label from the Richland winery spans multiple vintages (hence the non-vintage designation) and multiple varietals (31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 23% Merlot, 22% Malbec). Lots of Marionberry and black plum fruit, spicy accents, and pliable tannins make this wine instantly enjoyable and a pleasure to taste. Priced at around $10 to $15 a bottle, it’s an affordable, crowd-pleasing red that’s a great choice to serve during the holidays and a nice middle-of-the-week wine any other time of the year.