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Reviewed Wineries

Fresh Sheet July 17th 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013





Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from Maison BleueOwen RoeàMaurice CellarsBaer WineryDumas StationDiStefano WinerySalida, and Chinook Wines.

Maison Bleue

As with previous releases, Maison Bleue continues to produce some of the state’s finest and most compelling red and white wines (what other winery can you say that about?) with its latest offerings. The new wines include the return of the Jaja White, the first produced since the 2009 vintage. The lion’s share of the blend – mostly Marsanne, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc – comes from Boushey Vineyard, and it’s a winner – an absolutely perfect summer wine. Read more about the wine in a recent Seattle Metropolitan weekly wine pick.

Meanwhile its Jaja Red Wine counterpart from the 2011 vintage continues to raise the bar. Of note, all of the juice for what would have been the 2011 Gravière Red Wine was declassified into this wine, significantly elevating the quality from the (extremely impressive) previous vintage. The price has gone up to reflect the increased quality but this wine is still a superb value at this price.

Maison Bleue Jaja White Wine Columbia Valley 2012 $25
 (Excellent) An aromatic tour de force with complex aromas of grapefruit peel, tangerine, pear, star fruit, cantaloupe, mineral, and citrus. The palate is medium bodied, dry, textured, and fresh with abundant mineral flavors and a grapefruit pith finish. A thoroughly delicious wine – truly the perfect summer wine - that screams out for food but also stands up on its own. 50% Marsanne, 23% Roussanne, 18% Grenache Blanc, 9% Picpoul Blanc. Boushey and Dutchman (Roussanne) vineyards. Co-fermented in three year old French barrels (50%) and stainless steel. 13.4% alcohol. 311 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Maison Bleue Petite Joie Marsanne Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2011 $35
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Leaps up from the glass with marzipan, spice, pear, white peach, and sweet spices with a lot of aromatic complexity – truly you can just sit and smell this wine and be satisfied. The palate is textured and airy while retaining a sense of viscosity and depth. Hangs around for a lingering finish. 100% Marsanne. Aged 11 months in French oak (30% new). 13.3% alcohol. 140 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Maison Bleue La Famille Rosé of Mourvèdre Columbia Valley 2012 $20
(Excellent) A moderately aromatic, captivating wine with strawberries and cream, peppery spice, and abundant mineral notes. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied, dry with crisp, etched acidity that draws out on the finish. 100% Mourvèdre. Olsen Vineyard. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 12.5% alcohol. 365 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Maison Bleue Jaja Red Wine Yakima Valley 2011 $30
 (Exceptional) The price has gone up again but so too has the quality. It’s a vibrant, complex wine with an endless list of aromatic notes including dark plums, peppery spice, herbs de Provence, citrus twist, freshly picked blackberries, and orange peel. The palate is textured and gravelly, rich but subdued with tart acidity. Just a baby now, it needs some time to mature but is worthy of a spot in your cellar and a place at your dinner table. 43% Syrah, 35% Mourvèdre, and 22% Grenache. 1,200 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Owen Roe

The latest releases from Owen Roe are three impressive vineyard-designated wines. Each comes from a different site in the Yakima Valley – Union Gap, where the winery is currently constructing a new facility, Red Willow, and DuBrul. Of particular note on each of these wines – beyond their high quality – is the minimal use of new French oak during aging.

Owen Roe Union Gap Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $85
 (Exceptional) An aromatically brooding but complex wine with dark coffee, earth, floral notes, cherry, and mint. The palate is beautifully constructed, understated with smooth fruit flavors, firm but exceptionally well integrated tannins, and an extended finish. It’s all about balance. Give two plus years. 40% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec. Aged 19 months in French oak (15% new). 14.3% alcohol. 491 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Owen Roe Red Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $85
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Closed up at present with oak spices, dark cherries, bittersweet chocolate, pink peppercorn, and earth. The palate is rich and full with concentrated chocolate and cherry flavors and well integrated tannins that still need some time to stretch their legs. Give one year. 60% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 19 months in French oak (0% new). 14.7% alcohol. 394 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Owen Roe DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $85
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Aromatically closed up at present but detailed with cherry, mocha, earth, citrus, spicy peppers, floral notes, and light spices. The palate is concentrated and focused with cherry flavors while still retaining DuBrul’s unique sense of understated elegance and structure. Hangs on the finish. Give one to two years. 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 23% Cabernet Franc. Aged 19 months in French oak (15% new). 14.9% alcohol. 318 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


àMaurice Cellars

While àMaurice Cellars has made its name in the past in part with Viognier and Malbec, it is two Rhone-style wines from the new releases that most captured my attention. The first is a stunning Grenache from Boushey Vineyard. Coming from the cool 2010 vintage, it’s all about elegance and detail. The second also comes from Boushey Vineyard, this time a blend of Syrah and Grenache. Both of these wines saw no new French oak putting an emphasis on purity.

àMaurice Cellars Viognier Columbia Valley 2011 $25
 (Good/Excellent) Opens up with spicy barrel notes followed by nectarine and white peach. The palate is medium-plus bodied with stone fruit flavors, losing a bit of rhythm toward the finish. 100% Viognier. Gamache and Elephant Mountain vineyards. Aged in French oak (0% new). 14.4% alcohol. 250 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

àMaurice Cellars Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $28
 (Good/Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with toasty spice, pear, stone fruit, and candy corn. The palate is medium bodied with tart, lemony acidity and a spice filled finish. 100% Chardonnay. Aged in French oak (30% new). 14.5% alcohol. 138 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

àMaurice Cellars Grenache Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $38
 (Exceptional) An aromatically dazzling wine with red raspberries, herbs, ash, pepper, and floral notes. The palate dances lightly, textured and soft but still rich with a velvety feel and an endless finish. A shockingly good, flat out gorgeous wine that’s among the finest Grenache I’ve had from the state. 100% Grenache. Aged 24 months in French oak (0% new). 14.5% alcohol. 100 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

àMaurice Cellars Syrah/Grenache Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $34
(Excellent) An aromatically compelling wine with blueberries, bacon fat, herbs, mineral, and red fruit. The palate is soft and pure with elegant fruit flavors. Takes some time to get going but once it does it soars. 72% Syrah, 28% Grenache. Aged 24 months in French oak (0% new). 14.1% alcohol. 170 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

àMaurice Cellars Malbec Gamache Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $35
(Good/Excellent) Aromatically locked up with purple fruit, espresso, and oak spices. The palate is medium bodied with soft tannins, concentrated, plush plum flavors and a chalky feel to the finish. The oak gets a little heavy at times here but, overall, it works. 100% Malbec. Gamache Vineyard. Aged 23 months in French oak (40% new). 14.4% alcohol. 286 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

àMaurice Cellars Artist Series ‘Graves’ Red Wine Blend Columbia Valley 2010 $35
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Locked up aromatically with barrel spices, red fruit, licorice, floral notes, and cherry. The palate is concentrated with cherry flavors that ramp up in intensity, building to a crescendo and then persisting effortlessly on a long finish. 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot. Bacchus, Dionysus, Gamache, and Weinbau vineyards. Aged 24 months in French oak (40% new). 14.5% alcohol. 578 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Baer Winery

The latest releases from Baer Winery include a new wine – the Callisto Red Wine. This wine, which could be varietally labeled as a Cabernet Sauvignon, is in some respects a complement to the Star Red Wine, which is Merlot dominant. The three 2010 red releases reviewed below each show the somewhat lighter style of the vintage with a lot of elegance and subtlety to be found.

Baer Ursa Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $39
 (Excellent) Aromatically appealing with fresh brewed coffee, cherry, oak spices, and dark chocolate with an underlayer of fresh herbs. It’s has a satiny mouthfeel, coating the palate from end to end while still staying quite light on its feet. Sticks around for a long finish. A beautiful wine that should age well in the cellar. 42% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. 939 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Baer Arctos Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $43
 (Good/Excellent) Aromatic and appealing with dark roasted coffee beans, dark cherries, and prominent herbal notes. It’s light on its feet with plush fruit flavors and fine grained tannins with good depth of flavors. 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, and 12% Merlot. 14.5% alcohol. 434 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Baer Star Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $29
 (Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with oak spices, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, dark raspberries, and a light herbal note. The palate has delicate cherry and cranberry flavors and smooth, soft tannins with a lingering finish. A thoroughly delicious wine. 87% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alcohol. 381 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Baer Callisto Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $46
 (Excellent) A brooding wine with stewed raspberries, fresh herbs, oak spices, and earth. The palate is medium bodied with rich cherry flavors and firm, slightly dry tannins. Give one year. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Malbec. 14.5% alcohol. 179 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Dumas Station

The latest releases from Dumas Station include the winery’s first Bordeaux-style blend, labeled “Cuvee No 439.” The wine is named after engine number 439 that powered the first passenger train from Dayton to Walla Walla in 1881. The winery not only has a new tasting space at its Dayton facility, it also has a new website that is well worth a look with detailed information about the winery, its people, and its vineyards.

Dumas Station Cow Catcher Red Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2010 $24
 (Good) Moderately aromatic with mocha, vanilla, coffee bean, thyme, dried cherry, and a citrus twist. The palate is medium bodied with chocolate and cherry flavors, tart acids, and chalky tannins. Needs some time still to come into its own. 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Merlot. Minnick Hills, Birch Creek, and Seven Hills vineyards. Aged 22 months in American and French oak (33% new). 14.1% alcohol. 350 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Dumas Station Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2010 $28
 (Good) A moderately aromatic wine with dried cherries, cranberries, and sweet spices. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied with tart, luscious fruit flavors backed by soft, chalky tannins leading to a warm finish. 88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. Minnick Hills and Birch Creek vineyards. Aged 22 months in American and French oak (50% new). 14.9% alcohol. 100 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Dumas Station Cuvee No 439 Walla Walla Valley 2010 $32
 (Excellent) Named after Engine No. 439 that pulled the first passenger train from Dayton to Walla Walla in 1881, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot is moderately aromatic with carob, dried cherries, herbs, and fresh cranberries. The palate has a silky, soft but still rich feel with tart fruit flavors and a lingering finish. Quite tart when first opened, it softens after a few hours. Give one to two years or a long decant. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. 14.4% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Dumas Station Estate Bottled Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2010 $34
 (Good/Excellent) Moderately aromatic with vanilla, green olive, pepper, cranberry, graphite, and savory spices. The palate has soft, plush, textured fruit cherry flavors with a smooth feel. 100% Syrah. Minnick Hills, Breezy Slope vineyards. Aged 18 months in neutral French and American oak. 15.5% alcohol. 100 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


DiStefano Winery

DiStefano Winery celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The winery started out in 1983 making sparkling wine from Oregon grapes in a basement in Ballard. Sauvignon Blanc was added to the lineup in 1990 and Cabernet Sauvignon a year later. Decades later, the winery is still going strong.

DiStefano Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2012 $19
 (Good/Excellent) A ripe, aromatic wine with pear, tropical fruit, and light spices. The palate is creamy and textured with tart fruit flavors. A little heat on the finish holds it back. 91% Sauvignon Blanc, 9% Semillon. 14.0% alcohol. 825 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

DiStefano Domenica Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $32
 (Good) Moderately aromatic with herbs, cherries, vanilla, and sweet oak spices. It’s full bodied with abundant oak accents and dry tannins. 88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. 14.8% alcohol. 150 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

DiStefano Sogno Cab Franc Columbia Valley 2009 $36
 (Good) Moderately aromatic with sweet herbs, coffee, vanilla, and cherry. The palate is full bodied and rich with grainy tannins and a warm finish. 83% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot. 15% alcohol. 140 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Salida

Many years ago, winemaker Doug McCrea helped lead the charge for Rhone varieties in Washington at McCrea Cellars. With Salida, McCrea is once again on the leading edge, this time focusing on the grapes of the Iberian Peninsula. Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), and Monastrell (Mourvèdre) are on the rise in Washington. These are still early days but their future here looks bright.

Salida Wine Bar is located in Yelm, Washington. Read a previous post about the winery here.

Salida Albariño Yakima Valley 2011 $20
 (Decent) The focus here is part on lees and the rest on citrus and apple. The acidity is bright and tart but the fruit concentration can’t quite keep up with it. 13.8% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Salida Tres Vinos Yakima Valley 2009 $23
 (Good) A moderately aromatic wine with mocha, sweet spices, toast, and cherry. The palate is rich and sweet with the oak flavors showing prominently toward the finish. 50% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, and 25% Monastrell. 14.6% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Salida Tres Vinos Yakima Valley 2010 $23
 (Good) Lightly aromatic with pepper, cherry, light green notes, licorice, and spice. The palate has sweet fruit flavors and chalky tannins. 50% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, 25% Monastrell. 14.6% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Salida Vino Rojo Red Wine Yakima Valley 2009 $NA
 (Decent) Moderately aromatic with toast, mocha, pepper, and cherry. The palate is medium-plus bodied with cherry flavors and soft tannins. 14.8% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Salida Tempranillo Yakima Valley 2009 $25
(Decent/Good) Moderately aromatic with tire rubber, herbs, spice, and cherry. The palate is full bodied with sweet fruit flavors and soft, grainy tannins. 14.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Salida Tempranillo Yakima Valley 2010 $25
 (Good) Lightly aromatic with pepper, herbs, red fruit, and mocha. The palate has sweet fruit flavors and dry, chalky tannins. 14.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Salida Fuegro Sagrado Yakima Valley 2010 $21
 (Good) Dark in color with smoke, toast, sweet spices, pepper, and cherry. The palate has sweet fruit flavors and dry, chalky tannins. 60% Malbec, 40% Tempranillo. 14.8% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Onesies

Chinook Cabernet Franc Yakima Valley 2009 $23
 (Excellent) Consistently one of the state’s most unique bottles of Cabernet Franc – no one truly makes one like it - the 2009 vintage lives up to this history. It’s moderately aromatic with floral notes, herbs, and dry chocolate. The palate is soft, sumptuous, and velvety with the oak and alcohol dialed way back, restrained fruit flavors and a finish that glides into the distance. 100% Cabernet Franc. Chinook Estate, Boushey, Carter Farm, and Desert Hills vineyards. Aged in neutral French oak. 13% alcohol.

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2 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Great report as always, Sean. Jaja used to mean everyday wine. Now I think it means add $5 to the price every year and hope no one notices.

     
  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Ultimately, it all depends on what your idea of an everyday wine is. Great write-up!

     

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