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Reviewed Wineries

Fresh Sheet November 26th 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012






Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from Stoller Family EstateSpring Valley VineyardSan Juan VineyardsLocati CellarsPamplin Family Winery, and Pendulum.

Stoller Family Estate

Dayton, Oregon’s Stoller Family Estate is a winery on the move. Winery founder Bill Stoller first purchased the vineyard property in 1993, and the site now encompasses nearly 200-acres of plantings. The grapes go both into the winery’s estate wines as well as wines from Adelsheim, Chehalem, and Argyle.

The winery recently rebranded itself from Stoller Vineyard to Stoller Family Estate. “It really reflects the heritage of the site,” winemaker Melissa Burr says of the change. The Reserve Chardonnay reviewed below is the first wine to carry the new moniker.

Additionally, Stoller opened a new tasting room this fall. The facility faces the vineyard with three glass walls that can roll up during warmer weather. “It’s a great showcase for the wines,” says Burr, who recently completed her tenth vintage. The new facility also puts a strong emphasis on sustainability with 236 solar panels and use of salvaged timber.

Stoller Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay Dundee Hills 2010 $28
 (Excellent) An aromatically appealing wine that draws you into the glass with spice, almond, straw, pear, and candy corn. The palate is medium bodied with a textured feel and a streak of citric acidity that runs from start to finish. 100% Chardonnay. Barrel fermented and aged 10 months on lees in French oak (18% new). 13.5% alcohol. 883 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Stoller SV Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2009 $45
 (Excellent) Pale ruby in color. Though still wound up tightly, this remains an immediately appealing, fruit forward wine with tree bark, peppermint, forest floor, cinnamon, and black cherries. The palate does not hold back- it’s true to the vintage - full throttle, plush, rich, and concentrated with vibrant cherry and cranberry flavors with cinnamon and vanilla accents and a full flavored feel. 100% Pinot Noir. Aged 10 months in French oak (40% new). 14.5% alcohol.

Stoller JV Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2009 $25
 (Good/Excellent) Pale in color with a slight orange tinge. This is an aromatic offering of Pinot Noir with toast and spice with an underlayer of strawberries and cranberries. The palate is ripe but elegant and light on its feet with focused, tart cranberry flavors and supple tannins. 100% Pinot Noir. Aged 10 months in French oak (35% new). 14.5% alcohol.


Spring Valley Vineyard

Spring Valley Vineyard is set off by itself in the rolling wheat fields of the northern Walla Walla Valley. Though other wineries have recently begun planting nearby, Spring Valley remains the area’s pioneer.

The Corkrum and Derby families have been farming the land around Spring Valley for over 100 years. The first wine grape vines were planted in 1993, with Spring Valley producing its first wines in 1999.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates purchased the winery and brand in 2005, though the vineyard and estate continue to be owned by the Corkrum and Derby families. Additional plantings were put in in 2007. Overall the vineyard now encompasses 111 acres planted to Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Syrah. The winery has a tasting room in downtown Walla Walla.

Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2008 $50
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Starts out very locked up with red raspberries, rose hips, herbal notes, ripe cherries, and barrel notes. The palate is ripe and tightly wound with rich fruit flavors and firm tannins. Give one to two years or decant. 53% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec. Aged 18 months in French oak (60% new). 14.7% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Spring Valley Uriah Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2009 $50
 (Excellent/Exceptional) A moderately aromatic wine with high toned herbal notes, floral notes, and dark raspberries. The palate is soft and full of luscious red fruit flavors that draw out to a lingering finish. Give one to two years. 54% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec. Aged 18 months in French oak (60% new). 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed July 17, 2012

Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2008 $50
 (Excellent) Lightly aromatic with dry chocolate, high toned herbal notes, dark cherries, and black licorice. The palate is ripe and full with dark fruit and herbal flavors and well integrated tannins. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec. Aged 21 months in French oak (65% new). 15.3% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2009 $50
 (Excellent) Locked up aromatically with leafy, high toned herbal notes and barrel spices. As it opens up, coffee and cherry come to the fore. The palate is full bodied with ripe, full flavors and grainy tannins. The alcohol shows but overall the wine carries it. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec. Aged 21 months in French oak (65% new). 15.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Spring Valley Vineyard Katherine Corkrum Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley 2009 $50  
 (Good/Excellent) High toned floral and abundant herbal notes meld with barrel spices and dark cherries on this moderately aromatic wine. The palate is ripe, full bodied, and high octane with abundant herbal and dark fruit flavors and firm, grippy tannins. 83% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot, and 6% Malbec. Aged 18 months in French oak (35% new). 14.9% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Spring Valley Vineyard Nina Lee Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2009 $50
 (Good/Excellent) Lightly aromatic with high toned herbal notes, stewed dark fruit, cranberries, barrel spices, and caramel. The palate is full bodied with lush, dark fruit flavors. 100% Syrah. Aged 21 months in French oak (35% new). 15.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


San Juan Vineyards

San Juan Vineyards is located in Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands. The winery began production in 1999 and focuses both on estate wines and wines made from grapes from eastern Washington. The estate plantings include seven acres of Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe, and Pinot Noir. The non-estate wines encompass sites across the Columbia Valley.

San Juan Vineyards Riesling Yakima Valley 2011 $15
 (Good) An aromatic wine with peach, tangerine, ripe red apple, and dried lavender. The palate is medium sweet with well balanced with acidity. 100% Riesling. Les Vignes de Marcoux (50%) and Crawford vineyards. 12.1% alcohol. 3.28% Residual Sugar. TA 7.4g/L. 440 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

San Juan Vineyards Sangiovese Yakima Valley 2009 $23
 (Decent) An aromatic wine with roasted coffee bean, cherry, sawdust, and caramel. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied with soft cherry flavors and chalky tannins. Wood gets somewhat intrusive at times. 89% Sangiovese, 11% Cabernet Franc. Les Vignes de Marcoux and Alder Ridge vineyards. Aged 20 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak. 13.8% alcohol. 222 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

San Juan Vineyards Cabernet Franc Horse Heaven Hills 2009 $19
 (Decent) An aromatic wine with burnt coffee bean and predominant herbal notes along with cherry cordial and spice. The palate is full of ripe cherry flavors and grainy tannins. Wood spice flavors persist on the finish. 92% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Destiny Ridge, Alder Ridge, and Coyote Canyon vineyards. Aged 20 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak. 14.1% alcohol. 294 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Locati Cellars

Locati Cellars is located in the Walla Walla Valley with a tasting room on West Rose Street. In contrast to its peers in the valley, the winery focuses on Italian varieties. The winery uses grapes from its estate vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley as well as sites throughout the Columbia Valley.

Locati Cellars Sangiovese Columbia Valley 2008 $25
 (Good) An aromatically pleasing wine with cranberry, bright red raspberry, and dusty earth. The palate is light bodied and elegantly styled with soft, tart fruit flavors, finishing just a touch bitter. Rosebud (75%) and Mission Hill vineyards. 14.72% alcohol. 600 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Locati Cellars Barbera Columbia Valley 2008 $25
(Decent/Good) An aromatic wine with bright raspberries, sour cherry, high toned herbal notes, and a whiff of caramel. The palate is light, fresh, and quite tart. Lonesome Springs Ranch. 14.16% alcohol. 300 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Locati Cellars Innovation Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008 $20
(Good) An aromatic wine with a medley of herbal notes, cherries, and a touch of caramel. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied with fresh, clean, plump fruit flavors. 60% Barbera, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 18% Sangiovese. Lonesome Springs, Goose Ridge, and Mission Hill vineyards. 13.89% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Onesies

This is another impressive release from Oregon’s Pamplin Family Winery. Though labeled as a red wine, it could just as easily be designated as Cabernet Sauvignon. Much of the fruit comes from Seven Hills Vineyard with only a scant 16% new French oak used.

Pamplin Family Winery Proprietary Red Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $55
 (Excellent) An aromatically intriguing wine with graphite, black licorice, cherry cordial, and a medley of herbal notes. The palate is full of ripe, but still understated, fruit flavors on a lightly structured wine where the oak is considerably dialed back. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 9% Merlot, and 3% Malbec. Seven Hills (64%), Klipsun (24%), Canoe Ridge and Double Canyon vineyards. Aged 21 months in French oak (16% new). 14.9% alcohol. 119 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Pendulum is part of the Precept Wine family, with the 2010 release an intriguing blend of Bordeaux and Rhone varieties.

Pendulum Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $18
(Good) An aromatic wine with raspberry, red and black currant, herbal tones, and a light white pepper streak. The palate is plump, seeming almost sweet with grainy tannins and a soft finish. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 15% Grenache, 14% Mourvèdre, and 3% Malbec. Canoe Ridge, Willard, Oasis, and Hyatt vineyards. Aged in French and American oak. 13.3% alcohol. 7,824 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.



Rating System

Please note, my rating system was revised at the beginning of 2012 as follows. Read additional details here.

 (Exceptional)
 (Excellent)
 (Good)
 (Decent)
 (Not recommended/Flawed)


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