Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent Washington wine releases – includes wines from Heaven’s Cave, Sweet Valley Wines, Lodmell Cellars, and Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery.
Heaven’s Cave was founded in 2005 by Hope Moore. The winery was formed to create awareness and raise funds for the Make The Dash Count Foundation (MTDC). 100% of the winery's profits go to the foundation.
MTDC’s mission is “to educate and inspire high-school-aged youth to become tomorrow’s philanthropic leaders through community engagement and hands-on grantmaking.” Moore says that the program’s youth do all of the “heavy lifting,” from soliciting grant proposals to evaluating where funding should be allocated. “Giving them the responsibility for stewarding the money is what makes the philanthropy real and the decision making hard,” Moore says.
The ‘dash’ in MTDC refers to the line on a gravestone between the date someone is born and the date they die. Moore writes, “I believe that the power to make a difference exists in all of us. Regardless of where you are in your life’s journey, I encourage you to reflect on how you’re making the DASH count.”
Heaven's Cave focuses its fruit sources on Destiny Ridge and Alder Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills - the Heaven in Heaven's Cave. The winery is constructing a Tuscan-inspired facility on Destiny Ridge complete with an underground cave.
Heaven's Cave produces 800 to 1,000 cases annually.
Heaven’s Cave Yiayia White Wine Destiny Ridge Estate Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2009 $24
Rating: . (Decent) Aromas of Pledge, white peaches, and marzipan. Palate is off-dry with a viscous feel. 60% Pinot Gris, 20% Marsanne, and 20% Roussanne. Barrel fermented in neutral French oak and aged sur lie. 13.8% alcohol. 2.6 g/100ml Residual Sugar. 74 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Heaven’s Cave Destination Merlot Destiny Ridge Estate Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008 $32
Rating: . (Decent) Light in color. Aromas of char, toast, light herbal notes, and a touch of red currant. Palate has light bodied fruit with a healthy grip of tannins. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Aged 18 months in French oak. 14.1% alcohol. 46 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Heaven’s Cave The Graduate Cabernet Franc Destiny Ridge Estate Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008 $36
Rating: ./+ (Decent/Good) A moderately aromatic wine with cherry cough syrup, tea leaves, and light herbal notes. Palate has light bodied fruit with a firm tannic grip. 100% Cabernet Franc. Aged 24 months in French oak (75% new). 13.8% alcohol. 48 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Heaven’s Cave Amethyst Malbec Destiny Ridge Estate Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008 $36
Rating: + (Good) Aromas of cough syrup, cherry and licorice. Palate is full of cherry flavors with grainy tannins. 100% Malbec. Aged 18 months in French oak (75% new). 14.1% alcohol. 56 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Heaven’s Cave The Dweller Syrah Destiny Ridge Estate Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008 $28
Rating: ./+ (Decent/Good) Aromas of char, toast, ash, and spice. Palate has abundant black fruit flavors and grippy tannins. 100% Syrah. Aged 18 months in once used French oak. 14.3% alcohol. 108 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Heaven's Cave Icicles Riesling Ice Wines Destiny Ridge Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2007 $39 (375ml)
Rating: + (Good) Medium gold. An aromatic wine with orange marmalade, floral notes, honey, and burnt brown sugar. Thick and rich on the palate with sugared orange flavors. 100% Riesling. 15.4 g/100ml Residual Sugar. 112 cases produced.
Sweet Valley Wines
Like many winemakers, Josh McDaniels of Sweet Valley Wines got his start by volunteering at local wineries. Unlike many, however, McDaniels was only 15 years old. Several years later McDaniels went to his father and gave him an envelope with $1,000 saying he wanted to start a winery. Sweet Valley Wines was bonded in 2007, with the winery bottling their first wine during McDaniel’s senior year of high school.
McDaniels subsequently enrolled in the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College from which he would later graduate. In 2010 he spent at internship with Paul Hobbs Wines at Vina Cobos Winery in Mendoza, Argentina.
Sweet Valley has two labels – Sweet Valley and Righteous wines. Sweet Valley focuses on fruit from the Walla Walla Valley, while the Righteous Wines uses fruit from throughout Washington State.
The Righteous label reads: “‘Righteous’ – from Sweet Valley Wines is the kind of wine that could have been found in the goblets of the Last Supper or the glasses of surfer dudes around a beach side bonfire. It’s about taste, it’s about memories, it’s about a life full of friends and smiles.”
In addition to his work at Sweet Valley, McDaniels is an assistant at FIGGINS and manages a five-acre vineyard in Walla Walla. The Figgins family was instrumental in helping McDaniels overcome the numerous obstacles to becoming a winemaker while below the legal drinking age.
Sweet Valley and Righteous produce 2,000 cases annually. Note: McDaniels is also the winemaker for Monesia’s Song. Read about this winery here.
Sweet Valley Wines Righteous Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008 $16
Rating: + (Good) Aromas of mint, dark cherries, abundant herbal notes, and poblano pepper. The palate is tart and full of cherry and herbal flavors with the alcohol and oak pulled back. 79% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Syrah. Forgotten Hills, Minnick, and Coyote Canyon vineyards. Aged 22 months in neutral French and American oak. 13.6% alcohol. 725 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Sweet Valley Wines Righteous Malbec Walla Walla Valley 2009 $28
Rating: + (Good) Fairly aromatically quiet with aromas of plum, green notes, and peppery spice. Palate is full of tart fruit flavors that linger on the finish. Occasionally comes off as a bit sour. 92% Malbec and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Les Collines and Golden Ridge vineyards. Aged 18 months in French and Hungarian oak (50% new). 14.3% alcohol. 58 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Sweet Valley Wines Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2008 $30
Rating: ./+ (Decent/Good) Shows abundant herbal notes and sweet spices along with red licorice and red cherries. Palate shows concentrated fruit flavors. 94% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot. Pepper Bridge, Birch Creek, Golden Ridge, Les Collines, and Seven Hills vineyards. Aged 28 months in French and American oak (40% new). 14.3% alcohol. 67 cases produced.
Sweet Valley Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2008 $35
Rating: + (Good) Strongly herbal along with cola, chocolate, and high-toned cherries. Palate is tight and tannic with abundant chocolate and cherry flavors. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. Golden Ridge, Birch Creek, Minnick, Les Collines, and Seven Hills vineyards. Aged 28 months in French oak (70% new). 14.5% alcohol. 109 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Lodmell Cellars is a sibling-owned winery located in Walla Walla. Andrew Lodmell serves as winemaker with his sister Kristie in charge of sales and marketing.
The Lodmells are fourth-generation farmers. After graduating from Whitman College with a degree in environmental sciences, Andrew Lodmell began managing the family farm. In 1993 he planted Lodmell Vineyards near the lower Snake River. The winery was founded in 2005 in part to showcase the vineyard’s fruit, with Andrew Lodmell serving as winemaker.
Lodmell Cellars produces 800 cases annually, with most of this focused on Merlot. The 2006 Merlot vintage was skipped due to a brief hailstorm that devastated the vineyard.
Read a previous post on the winery here.
Lodmell Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2009 $18
Rating: + (Good) A slight greenish tinge. A lightly aromatic wine with lime zest, green apple, and light oak spices. Crisp and tart on the palate with abundant green apple flavors. Alcohol gets a little heavy at times but the acid pulls it back together. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Spring Creek Vineyards. Aged 12 months in neutral French oak. 15.0% alcohol. 115 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Lodmell Cellars Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2007 $NA
Rating: . (Decent) Pale lemon yellow. An unusual aroma profile with funky, leesy notes mixed with apple and wood spice. The palate brings abundant green apple and lime flavors accented by wood spice and austere acidity. 100% Chardonnay. Spring Creek Vineyards. Aged 24 months in French Acacia wood. 50 cases produced. Note: Wine club release. Sample provided by winery.
Lodmell Cellars Saignee Estate Rose Columbia Valley 2009 $18
Rating: . (Decent) Pale strawberry colored with a slight browning at the rim. An aromatic wine with strawberry rhubarb, cherry, and grapefruit. Weighted on the palate with abundant strawberry and spice flavors. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lodmell Vineyards. Aged 13 months in neutral French oak. 110 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Lodmell Cellars Merlot Columbia Valley 2007 $33
Rating: . (Decent) Dark in color. Aromas of red currant, strawberries, crushed nuts, green notes, and high-toned oak. The palate is tart and tangy with cherry fruit with a slightly sweet finish. 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lodmell Vineyards. Aged 36 months in French oak (20% new). 15.4% alcohol. 495 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Lodmell Cellars Bend Sinister Late Harvest Merlot Columbia Valley 2008 $30
Rating: + (Good) A Port-style wine with abundant spice aromas along with dried cranberries, raisins, balsamic, and brown sugar. The palate is rich and full of sugar and fruit flavors. 100% Merlot. Lodmell Vineyards. 83 g/L sugar. 100 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery was founded by the Monson family in 1999. The family owns a staggering 1,400 acres on Goose Ridge, a fold of land located adjacent to Red Mountain. All of the wines across the family’s three labels – Goose Ridge, Sol Duc, and Stonecap – come from this vineyard.
Of note, winemaker Kendall Mix joined Goose Ridge in April of 2010. Mix brings over 20 years of winemaking experience to the winery, most recently at Corliss Estates.
Goose Ridge has two tasting rooms, one located in Richland and one located in Woodinville in the Schoolhouse district.
Goose Ridge Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2009 $18
Rating: + (Good) Pale lemon yellow. Aromas of tropical fruit, spice and melon. Textured on the palate with abundant tropical fruit flavors. An enjoyable wine that is not shy on the oak. 100% Chardonnay. Fermented and aged in French and European oak. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.
Goose Ridge g3 Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008 $18
Rating: ./+ (Decent/Good) Aromatically quiet with aromas of black cherry, brambly fruit, roasted coffee bean, and spice. Palate is tart with concentrated fruit but is a bit rough around the edges with somewhat astringent tannins. 41% Syrah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot. 14.1% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.
Goose Ridge Vireo Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $30
Rating: + (Good) Abundant saline aromas along with dark fruit and vanilla. Palate is full of plump cherry flavors and lingering herbal notes. 38% Syrah, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 24% Merlot. 14.6% alcohol. 409 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
Sol Duc Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard Meritage Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $50
Rating: +/* (Good/Excellent) Aromas of sweet oak spices – particularly vanilla - are at the fore followed by dark fruit and herbal notes. The palate is concentrated with dark fruit flavors that glide along to a lingering finish. A very enjoyable wine, although the oak occasionally steals the show. 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 9% Malbec, and 4% Petit Verdot. 14.6% alcohol. 195 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.
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