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Fresh Sheet November 30th 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013





Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from Gorman WineryDumas StationPacific RimColumbia CrestWoodinville Wine CellarsCollege CellarsGoose Ridge Estate Vineyard & WineryTildio WineryPamplin Family WineryCol SolareRobert Ramsay Cellars, and NXNW Winery.

Gorman Winery

Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery is someone who never sits still. He is also evolving his approach to winemaking, always doing something to try to improve his craft. Recent changes include large stainless steel fermentation tanks, extended macerations, different fermentation styles, and varying the way that he presses the wines. "We change something every year," Gorman notes.

The new releases from the winery include two new wines, The Devil You Know and The Devil You Don't. The first uses largely Red Mountain fruit aged in French oak; the latter uses new vineyard sources from around the Columbia Valley along with American oak - a first for the winery. "We didn't just dive into the American oak world," Gorman says, noting that he did his research to decide which barrels to buy. These are both impressive wines that considerably overdeliver for the price, and the new releases continue to show Gorman on top of his game with a style few can match.

Gorman Winery Big Sissy Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 $35
 (Excellent/Exceptional) A moderately aromatic wine that draws you into the glass with complex notes of toasty spices, roasted pumpkin, tropical fruit, and candy corn. The palate is full bodied, viscous and textured in feel with great depth to the sweet fruit flavors and a lingering finish. 100% Chardonnay (70% Conner Lee, 20% Celilo, and 10% Kestrel Old Vine). Aged in French oak. 14.8% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Gorman Winery The Devil You Know Red Wine Columbia Valley 2011 $28
 (Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with red currant, licorice, huckleberry, and peppery spices. The palate is lush and fruit filled with soft tannins and a minerally finish. A lot of wine for the money. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 8% Mourvedre, and 2% Petite Sirah. Aged in once used French oak. 525 cases produced.

Gorman Winery The Devil You Don’t Know Red Wine Columbia Valley 2011 $28
 (Exceptional) An aromatically alluring wine with huckleberry, a light meatiness, red currant, and sweet spices. The palate is richly flavored, silky in feel with a long, lingering finish. A downright sexy wine with the texture playing a big part in the show. 80% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, and 5% Petite Sirah. Aged 21 months in American oak (100% new).

Gorman Winery Zachary’s Ladder Red Mountain 2011 $30
 (Excellent/Exceptional) A moderately aromatic, complex wine with ground black currant, cashew, floral notes, black licorice, soil, peppery spices, and dark fruit. The palate is full bodied with a rich, creamy texture and an incredibly long, exquisitely fruit filled finish. Hits the gong hard. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, and 10% Petit Verdot. 14.8% alcohol. 700 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Gorman Winery The Pixie Syrah Red Mountain 2011 $65
 (Exceptional) Locked up tightly at first, it opens to reveal notes of smoke, red and black fruit, licorice, crème de cassis, and mineral. The palate is full bodied with exquisitely rich, mouth coating fruit flavors and perfectly polished tannins that lead to a hyperextended finish. 100% Syrah. Aged in French oak (35% new). Sample provided by winery.

Gorman Winery The Bully Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2010 $50
 (Excellent/Exceptional) A Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon prototype with macerated dark cherries, black licorice, barrel spices, and high toned violets. The palate brings the hammer down hard with densely rich fruit flavors, chewy tannins and a lingering finish. Drinking well now but give it some time to see it at its best. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot. Aged in French oak (100% new). Sample provided by winery.

Gorman Winery The Albatross Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2010 $80
 (Exceptional) Locked up tightly at present with the darkest of cherries, black licorice, and abundant spices. It’s densely rich, full of cherry and licorice flavors with firm, lip smacking tannins. Put this one in the far back of the cellar. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot. Aged in French oak (100% new).

Gorman Winery The Evil Twin Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2010 $65
 (Excellent/Exceptional) Locked up tightly with blackberries, dark cherries, barrel spices, and ground aniseed. On the palate, a big boy wine – big, bold, dark and rich with a firm scaffolding of tannins. Give at least two years. 60% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French oak (100% new). 15.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Gorman Winery Cry Baby Late Harvest Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2010 $NA
 (Exceptional) An aromatically entrancing wine with candied mandarin orange, citrus, and honey. It’s rich, ripe and unctuous with layers of sweet fruit flavors. Not yet released.


Dumas Station

The latest releases from Walla Walla Valley’s Dumas Station – the winery is located in Dayton twenty minutes outside of town at an old train depot – focus on the winery’s Minnick Hills Vineyard, which co-owner Jay Dewitt farms. Like many wines from the cool 2010 vintage, these wines take time to fully reveal their charms but patience will be amply rewarded.

Dumas Station Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2010 $38
 (Excellent) Locked up aromatically initially with dark cherries, herbs, woodspice, and earth. The palate is dense, concentrated, and richly flavored, packing a wallop with tart fruit flavors and tightly coiled, slightly grippy tannins that lead to a long, lingering, spice-filled finish. Give two plus years or a very long decant. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Minnick Hills Vineyard. Aged 22 months in American (40% new) and French (20% new) oak. 14.1% alcohol. 300 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Dumas Station Estate Bottled Cabernet Franc Walla Walla Valley 2010 $32
 (Excellent) Draws you into the glass with cocoa, floral notes, high toned herbs, vanilla, and cherry. The palate is supple in feel with richness yet restraint to the fruit flavors, a firm but not unyielding scaffolding of tannins, and tart acidity. Give one to two years. 95% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Minnick Hills Vineyard. Aged 22 months in French (30% new) and American (10% new) oak. 14.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim – with the unforgettable domain name rieslingrules.com - focuses largely on Riesling, where it makes everything from dry to sweet to sparkling. The winery, which was purchased in 2011 by the Mariani Family, owners of Banfi Vintners, also makes limited amounts of Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer.

Pacific Rim Dry Riesling Columbia Valley 2012 $10
 (Decent/Good) An aromatic wine with floral notes, freshly peeled orange, and cut peach. Drinks a hair off dry with well balanced fruit flavors. 12.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Pacific Rim Riesling Columbia Valley 2012 $10
 (Decent/Good) An aromatic wine with apricot, honey, and jasmine. The palate is off dry with abundant stone fruit flavors. 11.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2012 $10
(Decent) Moderately aromatic with herbs, jasmine and underripe pear. The palate is off dry, leaning a bit sweeter without the acidity to stand it up. 12.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Pacific Rim Gewurztraminer Columbia Valley 2012 $10
 (Decent) Pops aromatically with abundant notes of jasmine, lychee, and spice. The palate leans toward medium sweet with moderate acidity. 12.0% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling Columbia Valley 2012 $10
 (Decent/Good) Moderately aromatic with jasmine, herbs, and stone fruit. It’s sweet with abundant stone fruit flavors. An enjoyable quaffer. 8.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling Columbia Valley 2012 $14
 (Good) An aromatic dessert-style wine with jasmine, nectarine, and honeysuckle. The palate is rich and sweet. 100% Riesling (made with organic grapes). Wallula Vineyard. 9.5% alcohol. 15% Residual Sugar. Sample provided by winery.

Pacific Rim White Flowers Brut Sparkling Riesling Cuvee Special Columbia Valley NV $16
 (Good) An aromatic wine with guava, pineapple, and yeast notes. The palate is dry in style with a lively mousse. 12.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Columbia Crest

Columbia Crest – Washington’s largest winery – is perhaps best know for its omnipresent Two Vines, Grand Estates, and H3 wines. However, the winery’s reserve program is very much a winery within the winery. The link between each of the tiers is consistently high quality for the price.

Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $35
 (Good/Excellent) Moderately aromatic with prominent notes of vanilla, mocha, earth, and dark cherries. The palate light and elegant with very tightly wound, somewhat astringent tannins and abundant vanilla, coconut, and other wood flavors that carry through on the finish. The tannins mellow considerably after a day open and there are a lot of good things going on in the bottle but the oak seems a bit intrusive. 53% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Cabernet Franc. StoneTree, Beverly, and Wautoma Springs vineyards. Aged 26 months in French oak (100% new). 14.5% alcohol. 3,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $45
 (Excellent) Locked up tightly with black fruit, earth, cocoa, barrel spices, and vanillin. It’s power packed with rich dark fruit flavors and very firm, chewy, somewhat gruff tannins that should settle down with some additional time in the bottle. Give at least two years. Aged 26 months in French oak (100% new). 14.5% alcohol. 5,500 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.


Woodinville Wine Cellars

The Woodinville Wine Cellars Little Bear Creek is one of those under-the-radar value wines that rarely travels far outside the state's borders. Made up of declassified fruit from the winery’s higher price point wines, it has a pedigree and élevage rarely seen at this price: Stillwater Creek, Dineen and Conner Lee vineyard fruit with 50% new French oak ageing. The 2011 vintage was still deep in slumber and somewhat ornery when first awoken. Give it some additional time in the bottle or a long decant.

Woodinville Wine Cellars Little Bear Creek Red Wine Columbia Valley 2011 $20
 (Good/Excellent) Barrel notes of roasted coffee and spice are up front – a lot more high quality oak than often seen on a wine at this price - followed by cherry, plum, and dried herbs. The palate on this young wine is tart and medium bodied, though somewhat lighter in style, with a creamy feel and chewy tannins. Give six-plus months or a long decant but you’ll really see improvement with another year or two in bottle. 45% Cabernet, 19% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 18% Malbec. Stillwater Creek (50%), Dineen, and Conner Lee vineyards. Aged 21 months in French oak (50% new). 14.5% alcohol. 665 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Woodinville Wine Cellars L.M.S Malbec Connor Lee Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $38
 (Excellent) Draws you into the glass with macerated plums, freshly ground coffee, and barrel notes. The palate is silky and plush in feel with deft fruit flavors and a tart lick of acidity. Finishes a bit short when first opened but fleshes out with some time, drinking better on the third day than the first or second. Give six to twelve months. 100% Malbec. Aged 20 months in French oak (75% new). 13.7% alcohol. 100 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Woodinville Wine Cellars Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley 2010 $45
 (Excellent) Aromatically locked up at present but opens to reveal chocolate, herbs, earth, cherry, floral notes, and medicinal notes. It’s richly flavored with abundant chocolate and cherry flavors and a firm scaffolding of tannins. 100% Cabernet Franc. Stillwater Creek (50%) and Conner Lee vineyards. Aged 22 months in French oak (100% new). 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


College Cellars

College Cellars is a teaching winery at the Center for Viticulture and Enology and Walla Walla Community College. The winery, which was bonded in 2003, allows students to gain direct experience with winemaking. College Cellars' latest releases include a first look at the 2013 vintage in the form of a Muscat Ottonel, which went from grape to bottle in a mere 24 days.

College Cellars Riesling Sagemoor Vineyard Columbia Valley 2012 $12
 (Decent/Good) An aromatic and distinctive wine with herbs, wintergreen, and green apple. The palate drinks off-dry toward medium sweet with abundant apple and stone fruit flavors. 100% Riesling. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 11% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

College Cellars Semillon Clark Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2012 $14
 (Good) An aromatically appealing wine – though initially a bit reduced - with ripe fig, fresh herbs, citrus, and a pad of unmelted butter. The palate is medium bodied – the throttle pulled back considerably – with tart fruit flavors. 100% Semillon. Clarke Vineyard. Aged 6 months in neutral French oak with full malolactic fermentation. 13% alcohol. 56 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

College Cellars Muscat Ottonel Schoor Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2013 $15
 (Decent) A very aromatic wine with orange blossom, mandarin orange, and honey. The palate is sweet with moderate carbonation. An enjoyable, cleanly made porch pounder. Or have it on the rocks in a cocktail. 100% Muscat Ottonel. Schnoor Vineyard. 9.0% alcohol. 76 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

College Cellars Malbec Clark Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2012 $20
 (Decent) A young wine that doesn’t seem entirely ready or ripe. It brings notes of vanilla and ash with light green notes and soft fruit flavors. The oak is a bit much for the wine that’s in the bottle. 100% Malbec. Aged 8 months in American oak puncheon. 13.3% alcohol. 87 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

College Cellars Carménère Clark Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2012 $18
 (Decent) An aromatic wine with bell pepper, fresh herbs, and jalapeno, leaning far into the green but not in an entirely unappealing way. The palate is very light and elegant in style with little apparent new oak influence and a fresh feel. 95% Carmenere. 5% Cabernet Franc. Clarke Vineyard. Aged 6 months in American oak. 12.5% alcohol. 60 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

College Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Clarke Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2011 $18
 (Good) A lightly aromatic wine with high toned herbs, green pepper, ripe cherry, and light notes of vanilla. The palate is soft and elegant in style with tart, vibrant acidity, tightly coiled tannins, and juicy fruit flavors. Clarke Vineyard. 13.6% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery

Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery occupies a unique position with its extensive estate holdings – 1,900 acres in total – which allow it to easily to create wines across the price spectrum. The wines below mark the beginning of a transition for the winery with some of the initial wines from Kendall Mix (formerly of Corliss Estates and also of Lawrelin) starting to be released. Mix assumed the position of head winemaker in April of 2010.

Goose Ridge g3 Merlot Columbia Valley 2011 $16
 (Decent/Good) Moderately aromatic with notes of baking spices, cardamom, peanut shells, dried cherry, cranberry, and cedar. The palate is lighter in style but flavorful with a supple feel and chalky tannins, pulling up a bit short. 96% Merlot, 1.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.5% Malbec, and 1% Syrah. Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards. 14.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Goose Ridge g3 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2011 $16
 (Decent/Good) Aromatically reticent with light green pepper notes, dry chocolate, cedar, and toasty spices. The palate has a pleasant, elegant feel while still retaining some tannic heft with oak spices providing detail. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard. Aged 17 months in French and American oak. 14.3% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Goose Ridge g3 Red Wine Blend Columbia Valley 2011 $16
 (Excellent) Moderately aromatic with plum, baking spices, smoke, high toned herbs, and chocolate. The palate has soft, smooth fruit flavors, pleasingly tart acidity, and fine grained, ever so chalky tannins. Shows a nice sense of balance throughout. 37.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.3% Merlot, 19.8% Syrah, 7.5% Malbec, 6.2% Mourvedre, 2.4% Petit Verdot, and 1.2% Cabernet Franc. Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard. 14.3% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Goose Ridge Vireo Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $35
 (Excellent) Moderately aromatic with dark fruit, plum, chocolate, light meaty notes, and toasty spices. The palate is soft and supple, very polished in style, lingering on a fruit filled finish. Shows a very pleasing sense of balance. 36% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 21% Syrah. Aged 22 months in French (50%) and American oak (50% new). 14.7% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Goose Ridge Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2009 $35
 (Good/Excellent) Draws you into the glass with coffee, toasty spices, freshly hewn wood, vanilla bean, and dark, jammy fruit. The palate is full bodied with rich fruit flavors and chewy tannins. Aged 22 months in French (60%) and American oak (50% new). 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Goose Ridge Chris Blevins Artist Series Estate Bottled Red Wine ‘Merlot Dreams’ Columbia Valley 2010 $43
 (Excellent) Aromatically locked up at present with mocha, dusty chocolate, sweet herbs, and a medley of red and black fruit. It’s lighter in style with the alcohol providing some weight that carries the seamless fruit flavors gently along to a pronounced finish. 43% Merlot, 28% Malbec, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. 15.3% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Tildio Winery

Tildio Winery is located in Manson, Washington in the Lake Chelan appellation. The winery was founded by Katy Perry, whose previous work includes stops at Robert Mondavi, Benzinger, Geyser Peak, Stags Leap Wine Cellars, The Yalumba Winery, and Chateau Ste. Michelle. Perry opened Tildio - named after the Spanish name for the Killdeer bird – in 2005 after planting the initial vines of an estate site in 2002 (look for reviews of the Lake Chelan and Wahluke Slope designates wines in a future issue of Wine Enthusiast).

Tildio Barrel Fermented Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 $25
 (Good) An aromatic interpretation of Chardonnay with pear, mango, star fruit, and abundant barrel spices. It’s medium-plus bodied with a creamy feel, trailing off toward the finish. 100% Chardonnay. 13.6% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tildio Garnacha Lonesome Spring Ranch Columbia Valley 2010 $NA
 (Decent/Good) A moderately aromatic wine with dark raspberries, cough syrup, and herbs. The palate is quite tart at present and explores the grape’s fuller side. Should settle down with some additional time in the bottle. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tildio Stride Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $29
 (Good) Lightly aromatic with herbs, ripe red cherry, fruit leather, licorice, and rosehips. The palate is medium bodied, tart with good depth of flavors and coarse grained tannins. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tildio Malbec Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2010 $35
 (Good) Aromatically brooding with fresh dark plum, coffee, and dried herbs. The flavors are tart, plush, and silky soft with a slightly gritty feel to the tannins. 14.5% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Tildio Robusto Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $30
 (Good/Excellent) Moderately aromatic with woodspice, chocolate, green herbs, cough syrup, and cherry. It has good depth and intensity of flavors with a plush, palate coating mouthfeel backed by tart fruit flavors and grainy tannins. 50% Merlot, 25% Tempranillo, 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12.5% Malbec. 15.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.


Onesies

Pamplin Family Winery is one of a number of Northwest wineries that live in somewhat of a netherworld – a border crosser that is located in one state (Oregon) but draws all of its fruit from another (Washington). This makes it easy for the winery to fly under the radar but this would be a mistake as Pamplin is producing consistently impressive wines. One of the hallmarks of the winery is a judicious use of new oak (the wine below received a mere 28% new French oak). The most recent release – a varietally labeled Cabernet Sauvignon - comes mostly from Klipsun Vineyard. Almost impenetrable when first opened, it takes several days to fully reveal its charms, but it's is more than worth the wait.


Pamplin Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $55
 (Excellent) Locked up tightly initially, it opens to reveal an energetic fruit profile of blackberry, cherry, and dry chocolate. The palate is full bodied and densely structured with abundant tart cherry flavors and chewy, tightly wound tannins and a restrained oak profile. Takes a full three days to really strut its stuff. Give at least two years. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot. Klipsun (70%), Champoux (18%), Seven Hills (10%), and Wallula (2%) vineyards. Aged 21 months in French oak (28% new). 14.7% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

Shining Hill Red Wine Columbia Valley 2010 $45
 (Excellent) Mostly sourced from Red Mountain (84%), this is a moderately aromatic wine with toasty spices, coffee bean, bittersweet chocolate, and dark fruit with herbal accents. It’s full bodied and tightly wound with rich, dark chocolate flavors and a firm grip of chewy tannins that need some time to unfurl. Give two-plus years but should have a very long life ahead of it. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Malbec. Aged 16 months in French (75%) and American oak (60% new). 14.5% alcohol. 1,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Robert Ramsay Syrah Boushey Yakima Valley 2010 $32
 (Excellent/Exceptional) An aromatic wine with peppery spices, milk chocolate, vanilla, and dried orange peel. The palate is lighter in style, soft and silky in feel with lithe, chocolatey fruit flavors. 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier. 14.4% alcohol. 176 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

NXNW Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2011 $30
 (Good) Starts out a bit gruffly when first open but after time settles down to show notes of dry chocolate, spice, and poblano pepper. It’s light in style with a somewhat scratchy feel to the tannins. Give it some time to open up. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot. The Benches, Alder Ridge, Les Collines, Heather Hill, and Seven Hills vineyards. Aged 18 months in French and American oak. 13.9% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.

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