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Fall Line Winery (SSAW Winter 2010)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is part of a report on the South Seattle Artisan Wineries. Additional sections of the report will be posted to the blog. Download a complete .pdf copy of the report here.

Fall Line Winery was bonded in 2004. The winery is owned by Tim Sorenson and his wife Nancy Rivenburgh. Sorenson, who serves as winemaker, began studying winemaking in 2000, taking an introductory enology course at UC-Davis. From there he began what he refers to as a two year ‘vinternship’ with Cadence’s winemaker Ben Smith.

Fall Line gets its name from Tim and Nancy’s love of skiing. The name is intended to evoke both the beauty and grace of a skier descending a fall line as well as the “balance, grace, and depth” that Fall Line seeks in their wines. Fall Line focuses on red blends that feature Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery also produces a single varietal bottling of Cabernet.

What impressed me most tasting through Fall Line’s lineup was both the exceptional fruit and the value these wines present. In terms of fruit, Sorenson uses top vineyards, including Boushey Vineyard (Yakima Valley), Artz (Red Mountain), and Red Willow (Yakima Valley). The Artz Vineyard offerings in particular are standouts. In terms of value, each of the wines is under $30 and walks the balance between approachability and ageability. While able to be enjoyed now, these wines will all benefit from some time in the cellar.

This is the first year that Fall Line has produced the Exhibition Red Wine. This wine currently contains fruit from Aldercreek Vineyard which the winery is phasing out as a fruit source. While the vineyard sources will change, Sorenson looks to continue producing this wine in the future.

Fall Line produces 2,100 cases annually.

Note: All wines sampled at 63 degrees.

Fall Line Winery Exhibition Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $22
Rating: + (Good)
Nose is marked by black licorice and blackberry aromas. Dry and puckering on the palate with a lot of licorice and fruit along with a strong tannic backbone. Loses a bit of its rhythm about two thirds of the way through. Aldercreek, Artz, Boushey vineyards. 302 cases produced. Recommended.

Fall Line Winery Artz Red Blend Red Mountain 2007 $28

Rating: * (Excellent)
An engaging nose with smoke, mineral, and currant. Tight, tart, and intensely focused with fruit on the palate. A pleasing balance of acid and tannins, although the latter are a bit drying at times. Give three years. 39% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. 490 cases produced.

Fall Line Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Yakima Valley 2007 $28

Rating: +/* (Good/Excellent)
A lot of Boushey perfume with earth, funk, violets, and pure licorice notes. Very nicely put together on the palate with puckering tannins. Loses a bit of its rhythm in the middle but comes back together. Give two to three years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 50% Boushey Vineyard, 50% Artz Vineyard. 366 cases produced.

Fall Line Winery Red Wine Aldercreek HHH 2007 $20

Rating: + (Good)
Licorice, spice, and pencil shavings mark the nose. Tart, tight, and tannic on the palate. Mid-palate dips down a bit on an otherwise very enjoyable wine. 46% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Fall Line Winery Red Wine Artz Vineyard RM 2006 $25

Rating: * (Excellent)
A lovely nose with cherry, earth, and floral aromatics. Excellent balance of tannins, alcohol, and acidity with focused fruit. Give two to three years.

Fall Line Winery Cabernet Sauvignon CV 2007 $28

Rating: + (Good)
A lot of earthy, funky aromas along with pepper and black licorice. Mid-palate loses a bit of its focus. A lot of tannic structure.

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