Corliss Estates (2008 WW HBT)

What follows is an excerpt for the 2008 Walla Walla Holiday Barrel Tasting Report. Read the full report here.

Corliss Estates has been quietly making wine in downtown Walla Walla for a number of years. However, you would never know it. The winery, located in an old bakery building which has been retrofitted into a state of the art winery, does not have a placard or sign anywhere to reveal its presence. It fact, while they have been toiling away since the early part of the decade, Corliss’ wines have never seen the light of day until now.

The winery opened its mailing list three weeks prior to the Holiday Barrel Tasting weekend. This event marked the first time Corliss was open for pick up of their inaugural releases – a 2003 Red Wine, Cabernet, and Syrah. The winery also tasted their 2004 and 2006 vintages. Corliss’ wines are exceptional and are among the best I have had from Washington. The wines have incredible complexity and jaw dropping amounts of power. These wines are tasting exceptionally well now but you could lay them down for many, many years and they would only get better.

The drawback? Don’t expect to see these wines on the shelves. Your best chances are to join Corliss’ mailing list to receive future releases. The 2003 Cabernet and Syrah were sold out by Holiday Barrel Tasting weekend. I would expect the Red Wine to not survive long if it is not gone already. The small allocation of wine Corliss brought to McCarthy and Shiering in Seattle sold out within four hours. The winery is not planning to produce more than 2,000 cases per year so if you are interested in joining the mailing list, make haste. All wines sampled at 62 degrees.






Cabernet Sauvignon (preliminary blend) 2006

Beautifully refined and balanced fruit and tannins. A plush, full wine that is all about power. Nose is still elusive but the taste delivers.



Red Wine (preliminary blend) 2006

Fairly quiet on the nose at present with earth and black pepper. Quite smooth with just a bit of tartness at the end. More subtle in style than the 2006 Cabernet.



Syrah (preliminary blend) 2006

A humongous gamey, meaty, smoky syrah. A beast of a wine that is a full body assault.



Red Wine 2003

Dark in color with tartrate crystals showing, the wine is loaded with black pepper, dried fruit, and cranberry. Coffee grounds wind throughout the nose and taste. Outrageous power through the mid-palate and a finish that goes on for minutes. One of the biggest wines I have had. A true cellaring wine that could last for many, many years.



Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Tons, literally tons of black cherry along with earth and bittersweet chocolate. This is an undulating wine that is perfectly balanced and has a beautiful finish. A super thick, chewy wine that takes multiple swallows to consume and then lingers on and on forever. A perfect mixture of subtlety and strength. This is a wine you will dream about when you go to sleep.



Syrah 2003

A gamey, smoky, intense syrah that is an excellent example of what Washington can do with this varietal. A whopper of a wine with a lot of complexity wrapped around a tight fruit core. Lots of sediment.



Syrah 2004

More of a Rhone style that couldn’t be more different than the 2003 and 2006 vintages with chocolate, cherry cola, and stone.



Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

A pleasing nose, although not as compelling as the 2003. White pepper and coffee grounds mark the nose and taste. A chewy wine that is very big on the palate.



Red Wine 2004

A monster of a wine with a syrupy nose and lots of coffee grounds throughout. Age 5-10 years or decant extensively.


Sean P. Sullivan

1 comment:

  1. Sean,

    Just to clarify. The 2004 wines tasted during the holiday barrel event at Corliss were actually the bottled wines, currently bottle aging for release later in 2009.