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Walla Walla Valley Report 2013 Part I

Monday, October 28, 2013

This report from the Walla Walla Valley includes wines from AbejaAmavi CellarsPepper BridgeButyTulpen CellarsL’Ecole No 41Tempus Cellars, and Forgeron Cellars.

Abeja

While Abeja has long been known as a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay shop (it still is), recent vintages have shown the winery making stunning wines from estate fruit from the Walla Walla Valley. One of them is an estate Viognier coming from the Mill Creek property where the winery is located. White wines are a rarity in the Walla Walla Valley but this wine shows that, in the right hands, it can be done and done well. The other comes from the other side of the valley from the winery’s Heather Hill Vineyard. This vineyard was first planted in 2001 and is not only producing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, it is also producing flat out stunning Syrahs.

Perhaps one of the most exciting things about the fruit coming out of the Walla Walla Valley right now is not that so much of it is of such high quality. It is that such high quality fruit is coming from such young vines. The future for the valley is bright.

Abeja Estate Viognier Walla Walla Valley 2012 $30
 (Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with oak spices, candle wax, white flowers, and pear. The palate is textured and rich in feel with a warm finish. 100% Viognier. Mill Creek Vineyard. Aged 5 months in two and three year old French oak. 14.2% alcohol. 238 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Abeja Merlot Columbia Valley 2011 $40
 (Good) Locked up tightly at present with toasty barrel notes, cocoa, and red fruit. The palate is pure silk in feel with soft fruit flavors and fine grained, slightly chalky tannins. 100% Merlot. Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards. Aged 11 months in French oak (40% new). 13.8% alcohol. 642 cases produced.

Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $45
 (Excellent) Draws you into the glass with cherry, char, toast, graphite, black licorice, and sweet herbs. The palate is light, soft and velvety, all about nuance and elegance with fine grained tannins. Those looking for a big bold Cabernet, look elsewhere; those searching for the grape’s more elegant side, this one’s for you. 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. Heather Hill, Bacchus, Dionysus, Weinbau, Hedges Estate, and Red Mountain Vineyard. Aged 25 months in French oak (60% new). 14.3% alcohol. 1,913 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Abeja Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Heather Hill Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2010 $55
(Excellent) Aromatically appealing with notes of chocolate covered cherries, plum, and spice mixed with high toned herbal notes. The palate is lusciously fruit filled with a soft tannin profile and tart acids. A beautiful wine with a long life ahead of it. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 23 months in French oak (60% new). 14.5% alcohol. 158 cases produced.

Abeja Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2011 $40
 (Exceptional) Draws you into the glass with blueberries, spice, pepper, floral notes, and a touch of game. The palate has fresh, tart fruit flavors, lively acid, and a soft mouthfeel. Give two years but should hold in the cellar as long as you care to keep it. 96% Syrah, 4% Viognier. Aged 11 months in French (60%), Hungarian (30%) and American oak (20% new). 13.8% alcohol. 156 cases produced.



Amavi Cellars

Speaking of white wines coming from the Walla Walla Valley, Amavi Cellars continues to impress each year with its stunning Semillon. As I have written before, Semillon is a forgotten grape in Washington with a mere 222 acres planted as of 2011, less than a quarter of what there was in the early 1990s. While consumer preferences seem to have swung in different directions, this is a shame as the grape positively thrives in Washington as this wine so ably demonstrates.



Amavi Cellars Semillon Walla Walla Valley 2012 $21
 (Excellent/Exceptional) An aromatic wine redolent with lemon curd, fig, melted butter, and spice. The palate is full bodied and textured with rich fruit flavors that linger on the finish. 89% Semillon, 11% Sauvignon Blanc. Les Collines (52%), Seven Hills (28%) and Goff vineyards. Aged in French oak (0% new). 13.9% alcohol. 871 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Amavi Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2010 $29
 (Good) A moderately aromatic wine with powdered chocolate, fresh dark cherries, earth, and high toned herbal notes. The palate has a supple, textured feel with tart, lithe fruit flavors and firm, dry tannins with a long squeeze. Give one to two years. 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 3% Syrah, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Pepper Bridge, Les Collines, Seven Hills, Octave, and Goff vineyards. Aged in French (92%) and American oak (25% new). 14.1% alcohol. 4,387 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Amavi Cellars Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2011 $29
 (Good/Excellent) An aromatic wine with crushed violets, mineral, chocolate, dried wild blueberries, smoked meat, and a light earthiness. The palate is perfumed and soft in feel with chalky, dry tannins. 100% Syrah. Les Collines (47%), Seven Hills, and Stone Valley vineyards. Aged in French oak (11% new). 14.3% alcohol. 1,991 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.



Pepper Bridge

Pepper Bridge continues to fly somewhat below the radar considering the quality of the wine that is in the bottle. In some ways, this is perhaps not too surprising as it’s a style that lends itself far more toward aging than to popping and pouring.

The yin and yang vineyards that the winery works with are Seven Hills and Pepper Bridge, and they could not be more different as the vineyard designated blends show so well. Seven Hills brings a much softer fruit and tannin profile while Pepper Bridge brings more heft. Blended together they provide a perfect complement and contrast.

Pepper Bridge Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2010 $50
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Aromatically brooding with barrel spices, scorched earth, coffee, red fruit, and dried herbs. The palate has tightly wound tannins peppered with oak notes and accented by fresh acidity. Another benchmark Merlot from this stalwart winery. Give two-plus years. 84% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Malbec. Seven Hills (58%) and Pepper Bridge vineyards. Aged 17 months in French oak (38% new). 14.5% alcohol. 586 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Pepper Bridge Seven Hills Vineyard Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2010 $60
 (Exceptional) The barrel notes of mocha and spice are up front at present followed by high toned herbs, pencil shavings, floral notes, and dark cherries. The palate is concentrated and intensely flavored showing more overt tannic structure than often seen at this vineyard. Give two-plus years but has a long, long life ahead of it. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. Seven Hills Vineyard. Aged in French oak (47% new). 14.5% alcohol. 451 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Pepper Bridge Pepper Bridge Vineyard Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2010 $60
 (Excellent) Dark and brooding with coffee grounds, scorched earth, floral notes, and high toned herbs. The palate is tightly coiled with a firm grip of grainy tannins and dry fruit flavors. 51% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Pepper Bridge Vineyard. Aged 18 months in French oak (46% new). 14.3% alcohol. 430 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2010 $50
(Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with notes of red and black cherry, scorched earth, and coffee. The palate is dry, tightly wound with slightly chalky tannins. Give two-plus years. 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Seven Hills (66%) and Pepper Bridge vineyards. Aged 18 months in French oak (41% new). 14.4% alcohol. 2,006 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Buty

Changes are afoot at Buty where longtime assistant winemaker Chris Dowsett has assumed head winemaking responsibilities. Of the wines sampled below, the most attention getting is the 2010 Merlot-Cabernet Franc. Almost all of this wine (95%) comes from Connor Lee Vineyard in the Columbia Valley with just a dollop coming from Champoux Vineyard. Like many wines from the 2010 vintage, it only continues to improve after hours and days open and should have a very long life in front of it.

Buty Beast Wildebeest Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $25
 (Good) An aromatically intriguing wine with coffee tones, dusty sweet spices, raisins, and medicinal notes. The palate has plump, dry fruit flavors and grainy tannins. 77% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Aged 20 months in French oak (7% new). 14% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Buty 60% Semillon, 19% Sauvignon, and 21% Muscadelle Columbia Valley 2011 $25
 (Good) An aromatically complex wine with freshly peeled grapefruit, orange peel, fig, and herbs. It’s medium bodied with a textured feel and tart fruit flavors. 60% Semillon, 19% Sauvignon Blanc, and 21% Muscadelle. Rosebud (Wahluke) and Spring Creek (Yakima Valley) vineyards. 13.8% alcohol. 1,650 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Buty Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2011 $40
 (Good/Excellent) An aromatically appealing wine with cream, candy corn, and roasted squash. The palate is medium bodied but dances lightly with a creamy feel and an open finish. 100% Chardonnay. Aged in neutral Burgundy barrels. 12.8% alcohol. 420 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Buty 58% Merlot 42% Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley 2010 $45
 (Excellent/Exceptional) An aromatically appealing wine with espresso, leafy herbs, and dusty cherry. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied, tart and spritely with soft cherry flavors and a zip of tangy acidity. A bit angular and showing its youth initially, it ramps up in intensity each minute after being opened. Give one to two years but has a long life ahead of it. 58% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Franc. Conner Lee (95%) and Champoux vineyards. Aged 14 months in French oak (50% new). 14.3% alcohol. 220 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Buty Rediviva of the Stones 77% Syrah & 23% Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2009 $60
 (Excellent) An aromatically intriguing and somewhat elusive wine initially that opens to reveal with wet stone, moist earth, a light funk, green olive, saline, ash, and bay leaf. The palate is dialed back with lower levels of alcohol, minimal appearance of oak, soft savory flavors, and tart acidity. 77% Syrah, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon. LeFore, Morrison Lane, Les Collines, and River Rock vineyards. Aged 15 months in neutral French oak. 13.8% alcohol. 365 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.




Tulpen Cellars

The latest releases from Tulpen Cellars display a grand experiment in Walla Walla Valley viticulture – dry farming. For the vast majority of eastern Washington, growing wine grapes without irrigation would be completely impossible due to the limited amounts of rainfall these areas receive. However, areas of the Walla Walla Valley – specifically eastern areas toward the Blue Mountains – receive just enough rainfall to make this feasible.

One of the more fascinating conversations I ever heard was listening to Tulpen winemaker and grower Ken Hart and his associate Rick Trumbull, a sustainable vineyard and orchard consultant, discuss and debate what differences dry farming actually makes in terms of what’s happening in the soils. Alas, it was late in the evening at one of Hart’s legendary dinners and, with pen and paper nowhere near at hand, the conversation is lost to the sands of time. We'll have to take up the details another time.

However, one can taste the 2009 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Dry Land Cabernet and see what difference it makes in the bottle. The comparison is not perfect as a good whack of the former (37.5%) comes from a different site all the way cross the valley (Heather Hill). Still, it makes for a fascinating comparison. For me, the Dry Land wine showed a bit of Cabernet’s poblano pepper side whereas the wine from the irrigated vines did not. Does this say something about the farming, the frost shortened vintage, or something else? Only time will tell as Tulpen increasingly moves toward using dry farmed fruit.

Tulpen Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley 2009 $28
 (Excellent) Labeled as Syrah, this is truly more of a Southern Rhone-style ‘GSM’ – or in this case an SMG with a good whack of Syrah. It’s moderately aromatic with huckleberry, smoke, spice, and soapy floral notes. The palate is rich and concentrated with blueberry and espresso flavors backed by fine grained tannins. A bit compact at present, it still needs some time to stretch its legs. 78% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 7% Viognier, and 5% Grenache. Mill Creek, Lewis, Wallula, and Yellowbird vineyards. 14.8% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tulpen Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2009 $38
 (Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with fresh, green herbs, black currant, scorched earth, and cherry. Coats the palate from end to end with textured fruit flavors supported by well integrated tannins. A fine, delightfully understated example of valley Cabernet. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Tokar (56.3%), Heather Hill (37.5%) and Yellowbird vineyards. 14.6% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tulpen Cellars Dry Land Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2009 $42
 (Good/Excellent) Moderately aromatic with roasted poblano pepper, scorched earth, cherry, chocolate, and baking spices. The palate is considerably more restrained and a bit rougher around the edges than its irrigated counterpart from the same vintage but still delivers the goods. 97.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.4% Petit Verdot. Yellowbird (60%) and Tokar vineyards. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tulpen Cellars Coalescence Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $32
 (Excellent) An aromatically alluring wine with dry chocolate, cherry, and high toned herbal notes with a lightly green edge. It’s rich and concentrated without ever going over the top with seamless fruit flavors that carry through to a long, lingering finish. An outstanding wine that shows exquisite balance. 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot and 4% Malbec. Tokar (60%), Dennis Pleasant, Wallula, Yellowbird, Les Collines, and Lewis vineyards. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tulpen Cellars Merlot Columbia Valley 2009 $34
 (Exceptional) Draws you into the glass with mocha powder, high toned herbal notes, vanilla, and red fruit. The palate is packed to the brim with bold fruit flavors that are seamlessly stitched together. Lingers on the finish. 76% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Malbec. Wallula, Lewis, Dennis Pleasant, Yellowbird, Tokar, and Les Collines vineyards. 14.9% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


L’Ecole No 41

The latest releases from L’Ecole No 41 include the winery’s first vineyard designated wine from Candy Mountain Vineyard. Located near West Richland and established in 1998 by Tom Waliser and Premier Partners, Candy Mountain looks right at nearby Red Mountain. The vineyard is south facing and accumulates high heat units during the growing season. Other wineries using Candy Mountain fruit include Long Shadows, where it often makes up part of the Saggi, Feather, Chester-Kidder, Sequel, and Pedestal, and Balboa among others.





L’Ecole No 41 Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 $21
 (Good/Excellent) An aromatically appealing wine with toasty spices, caramel, mineral, and tropical fruit. The palate is rich and full with a warm finish. 100% Chardonnay. Schmitt, Evergreen, and Oasis vineyards. Aged six months in French oak. 14.5% alcohol. 4,825 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc Klipsun Vineyard Red Mountain 2012 $19
 (Good/Excellent) Draws you into the glass with notes of cream, spice, herbs, and light tropical notes. The palate is drawn out with seamless fruit flavors that linger on the finish. Shows a bit of heat but generally it holds it. 67% Semillon, 33% Sauvignon Blanc. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Estate Luminesce Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2012 $20
 (Excellent) More reserved in style than the winery’s Klipsun Vineyard offering from the same vintage, it’s an aromatically appealing and complex wine with dried fig, toast, light tropical notes, and spice. The palate is medium bodied showing a bit of warmth on the finish. 61% Semillon, 39% Sauvignon Blanc. Seven Hills Vineyard. Barrel fermented and aged four months in French oak with partial malolactic fermentation (30%). 14.5% alcohol. 1,260 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Merlot Columbia Valley 2010 $25
 (Good) A moderately aromatic wine with cocoa, cedar, wet stone, marionberry, and plum. It’s tart, tightly wound and a little rough around the edges when first opened, taking a few days to settle down. Give one year. 82% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Malbec. Seven Hills, Bacchus, Dionysus, StoneTree, Candy Mountain, Klipsun, Weinbau, Ferguson, and Pepper Bridge vineyards. Aged 18 months in small oak barrels (30% new). 14.5% alcohol. 4,020 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Estate Merlot Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2010 $35
 (Excellent) Aromatically appealing with barrel notes of cocoa and spice melding with fresh herbs, chocolate, mineral notes, and a mixture of red and black fruit. The palate is subdued in feel with firm tannins and tart, fresh acidity. Give one year but has a long life ahead of it. 78% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Seven Hills Vineyard. 14.5% alcohol. 1,065 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $32
 (Good) An aromatically generous wine with dried cherries, licorice, medicinal notes, potpourri, and milk chocolate. It’s medium bodied with dry, chalky tannins and tart fruit flavors. Give six to twelve months. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bacchus, Dionysus, StoneTree, Klipsun, Weinbau, Alder Ridge, Cold Creek, Candy Mountain, and Ferguson Ridge vineyards. Aged 22 months in small oak barrels (33% new). 14.5% alcohol. 4,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2010 $40
(Excellent) An aromatically brooding wine with wet stone, dried black cherries, blackberries, moist earth, and toast. It’s sumptuous, tart and rich with grainy, slightly dry, tannins. Give two-plus years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Seven Hills, Loess, Pepper Bridge, Va Piano, Yellow Jacket, and Ferguson Ridge vineyards. Aged 22 months in French oak (40% new). 14.5% alcohol. 1,760 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Candy Mountain Vineyard Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $39
 (Good/Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with cedar, clover, herbs, and floral notes with light mineral accents. The fruit flavors are tart, generous and drawn out with a silky smooth feel backed by chewy tannins. 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot. Candy Mountain Vineyard. 14.5% alcohol. 345 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Syrah Columbia Valley 2010 $25
 (Good/Excellent) Very aromatically distinct with wet stone, blueberry jam, chocolate, and dried cherries. The palate is rich and full bodied with dry tannins and tart fruit flavors, finishing a bit short. Shows some heat. 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache. Candy Mountain, StoneTree, Alder Ridge, and Bacchus vineyards. Aged 18 months in small oak barrels. 15% alcohol. 2,430 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Estate Syrah Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2010 $35
 (Excellent) Moderately aromatic with blackberry jam, blueberries, incense, red currant, and smoke. The palate is less opulent than it’s alcohol listing might indicate with tart fruit flavors and a soft feel backed by somewhat grainy tannins. Give one to two years. 100% Syrah. Seven Hills Vineyard. Aged 18 months in small oak barrels (40% new). 15.0% alcohol. 1,015 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Perigee Estate Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2010 $50
 (Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with notes of mineral, dried plum, slightly raisined fruit, black licorice, and cranberry. The palate has tart, puckering cranberry flavors with a soft, sensuous feel backed by dry tannins. Give two years. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot. Seven Hills Vineyard. 14.5% alcohol. Aged 22 months in French oak (50% new). 14.5% alcohol. 1,110 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

L’Ecole No 41 Apogee Red Wine Pepper Bridge Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2010 $50
 (Excellent/Exceptional) A moderately aromatic wine with complex notes of bittersweet chocolate, herbs, cherry, vanilla, cranberry, plum, and wood spice. The palate is elegant in its styling with minimal alcoholic fat, chewy tannins, and a tart finish. All about elegance, it’s one for the cellar with a long life ahead of it. Give at least two years but it will cellar well for a decade or more. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 7% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Franc. Pepper Bridge Vineyard. Aged 22 months in French oak (50% new). 14.5% alcohol. 1,315 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.



Tempus Cellars

Winemaker Joe Forrest of Tempus Cellars continues along, quietly making high quality wines at affordable prices. The 2010 wines sampled below – like many of the wines from this vintage – are in somewhat of a shell when first opened and require some time to show their best. Give a long decant or some time in the cellar.

Tempus Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $32
 (Excellent) Moderately aromatic with cocoa, earth, cherry, and light herbs. The palate is elegantly styled with tart, supple fruit flavors. 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot. 14.2% alcohol. 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot. 14.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tempus Cellars Syrah Yakima Valley 2010 $28
 (Good) Moderately aromatic with dried plum, herbs, baking spices, floral notes, and black peppercorns. The palate is medium bodied and quite tart with a soft, textured feel. 100% Syrah. Arthur J. Den Hoed Vineyards (two sites, two clones). Aged 22 months in French oak. 14.4% alcohol. 138 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Forgeron Cellars

The latest wines from winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla at Forgeron Cellars include some fascinating wrinkles. Typically Gilla has made a Columbia Valley designated Syrah that includes a significant portion from Boushey Vineyard. For the 2010 vintage, Gilla made instead two vineyard designated Syrahs – one from Boushey Vineyard and the other from Les Collines. “I liked them both,” Gilla said simply. The two wines provide textbook examples of the contrasts between these two top Syrah sites.

The current wines also include a new, reserve level-style wine from Forgeron. Named Anvil, the wine is half Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest a whopping 20% Petit Verdot. For the fruit, Gilla sources from exceptional sites including Pepper Bridge, Dionysus, and Boushey.

“It’s the most masculine of the wines I make!” Gilla says. While true, the wine still displays her deft, feminine touch.

Forgeron Cellars Ambiance White Wine Columbia Valley 2012 $25
 (Good) A moderately aromatic wine with apricot, honeysuckle, floral notes, ripe pear, and light oak spices. The palate is medium bodied, fresh and fruit filled with tart flavors. 38% Viognier, 23% Roussanne, 23% Marsanne, and 16% Grenache Blanc. Francesca, Crawford, and Boushey vineyards. Aged in neutral French oak. 14.1% alcohol. 322 cases produced.

Forgeron Cellars Merlot Columbia Valley 2010 $30
 (Excellent) A captivating wine with red currant, cocoa, barrel spices, and a kiss of licorice. The palate has a soft, velvety mouthfeel with chewy tannins light bitters on the finish (in a good way!). Give at least one year. 100% Merlot. Olsen, StoneTree, and Boushey vineyards. Aged in French (87%) and American oak (40% new). 14.2% alcohol. 338 cases produced.

Forgeron Cellars Sangiovese Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $25
 (Good) An aromatically appealing wine with cranberries, dark raspberries, and chocolate. The palate is on the lighter side of medium bodied with tart, bright acids. 100% Sangiovese. Aged in French oak (50% new). 14.1% alcohol. 154 cases produced.

Forgeron Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $35
 (Good/Excellent) Aromatically appealing with barrel spices, sweet herbs, earth, and cocoa. The palate is medium bodied, tart with grainy tannins. Needs some time to stretch its legs but a very pretty wine. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec. Pepper Bridge, Dionysus, and StoneTree vineyards. Aged in French oak (41% new). 14.4% alcohol. 464 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Forgeron Cellars Syrah Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2010 $30
 (Excellent) An aromatically appealing wine with cocoa, mineral, blue and black fruit, black pepper, smoked meat, and some of the famous Boushey funk. The palate is subdued and silky, on the lighter side of medium bodied but with a lot of texture, barrel notes, and fresh, vibrant acidity that draws it out to a lingering finish. 100% Syrah. Aged in French oak (50% new). 14.1% alcohol. 148 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Forgeron Cellars Syrah Les Collines Walla Walla Valley 2012 $46
 (Excellent) Very aromatically distinct from the Boushey with herbs, citrus peel, dry chocolate, and crushed violets. The palate is medium bodied, very soft and velvety with blueberry flavors and tart acidity. Not for all comers but a very pretty wine. 100% Syrah. Aged in French (60%) and Hungarian oak (34% new). 14.5% alcohol. 100 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Forgeron Cellars Anvil Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $56
 (Excellent) Draws you into the glass with complex notes of dusty chocolate, earth, herbs, cherry, vanilla, and kisses of licorice. A very pretty wine a lot of elegance but still with some heft to the fruit and tannins. Give some time to open up. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon (Pepper Bridge, Dionysus), 30% Merlot (Boushey), and 20% Petit Verdot (Dionysus). Aged in French oak (64% new). 14.3% alcohol. 239 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


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1 Responses to Walla Walla Valley Report 2013 Part I

  1. Jim Says:
  2. Thanks for the Walla Walla Valley report! You should do another Woodinville report as well since it's been so long since the last one.

     

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