Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Spring, 2024

For the week of April 14, 2024: Kerloo Cellars 2020 Solaksen Vineyard Syrah ($28) and Patterson Cellars Non-Vintage Due Anni ($20) – This week’s selections include a couple of choices that represent outstanding values and give you examples of quality wines that can be found at reasonable prices; all it takes is a little bit of searching and tasting, which isn’t a bad thing at all!

The Kerloo Syrah is sourced from a newer vineyard in the Royal Slope AVA. Although it’s still drinking a little on the young side with classic Syrah inky and smoky undertones, some additional time in the cellar will soften the tannins and allow more of the tasty blackberry and black currant fruit to shine through. The Patterson Due Anni (‘two years’ in Italian) is a Merlot-dominant red wine blend of seven varietals. Luscious blueberry and Marionberry flavors are prevalent throughout, with nuances of dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and sweet tobacco on the finish. This wine is absolutely delicious and makes for both a perfect, mid-week ‘spaghetti red’ and an end-of-the-evening red wine glass pour.

For the week of April 7, 2024: Prospice Wines 2023 Grenache Blanc – This newly released white from Prospice owner/winemakers Matt Reilly and Jay Krutulis is absolutely remarkable. The aromatics and flavor profile are surprisingly tropical; jackfruit, pineapple, and starfruit lead off, followed by underlying notes of cantaloupe and Golden Delicious apple. From the mid-palate on, juicy citrus takes center stage, with a closing stanza highlighted by lime zest and bracing acidity. It carries a lovely, fresh quality and, served chilled, makes for a perfect spring and summertime sipper. Sourced from the Walla Walla Valley’s Les Collines Vineyard.

For the week of March 31, 2024: Seven Hills Winery 2022 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – $38 a bottle seems a bit steep for a Sauvignon Blanc, but this wine absolutely delivers and is well worth the price. Sourced from Washington’s White Bluffs AVA, it’s somewhat New Zealand-esque in character, with it’s racy and brisk qualities but without being too “green.” Aromas and flavors of gooseberry and white peach predominate, along with a big splash of ruby red grapefruit, while the mouth-watering finish carries nice touches of lemongrass and minerality. Try it with a variety of foods ranging from creamy pastas to oysters on the half-shell, fresh crab, or ceviche.

For the week of March 24, 2024: Otis Kenyon Wine 2018 Merlot – Washington Merlots have developed nicely over the past decade or two; from somewhat pedestrian, middle-of-the-road wines to those with a broader range of depth and character. This selection from long-time Otis Kenyon winemaker Dave Stephenson is a tasty, complex Merlot sourced from Seven Hills West Estate Vineyard that begs for a second glass as the flavors evolve in the glass. After a crazy/wonderful array of aromatics from black cherries to bay leaf to fresh-roasted coffee, the wine transitions into a palate of black olive, blackberry, and mocha, with umami-like finishing touches of crimini mushroom, graphite, and – five-plus years since its 2018 harvest – still-prevalent tannins.

For the week of March 17, 2024: Floating Balance Cellars Non-Vintage Fourth Dimension – David Kreidel and Shane Erickson will be opening their Walla Walla tasting room this spring, and they’re off to a great start with the pre-release of several award winning wines, crafted by Lagana Cellars’ winemakers Jason Fox and Todd Bernave.

Kreidel & Erickson are being slyly tight-lipped about the contents of Fourth Dimension, a proprietary blend of who-knows-what white varietals. There’s certainly a fair amount of Pinot Gris for starters, with a base of melon, cantaloupe, Bosc pear, and starfruit; and the nice streak of acidity with accents of Fuji apple and citrus suggests the possibility of Sauvignon Blanc and perhaps a splash of Riesling. Whatever the contents, chill it down a bit before serving, and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious white wine blend that makes for an excellent “porch pounder,” particularly during the warmer-weather months ahead.

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