Ready? Set? GO!
Here’s my attempt to live blog red wines from Walla Walla, WA. This is basically speed dating for wine… so my comments are going to be one, two, three, done. AKA: lacking in depth, breadth, and quite possibly quality of any sort. Please don’t let that get in the way of the quality of the wines!
If you are planning a trip to Walla Walla and looking for wines to try, you’re going to be overwhelmed with choices! PS This is entirely unedited.
Wineries to Visit in Walla Walla, WA
2014 Artist Series Cab Sauvignon
Second oldest winery in Walla Walla, founded in 1976 for the vineyard. The artist series started in 1992, thus it’s called “Series #23” because it’s 23 years old! There’s a new artist for each year and do an artist dinner each year. Always a local artist from the PNW.
This is a 92% cab blend, the rest is PV and cab franc. Their biggest export market is Japan, followed by Norway! Up to sixty percent new French oak is used to create the mellow flavours.
The wine itself? Solid tannin structure, definitively fully ripe cab. There’s black fruit coming through for sure, but well integrated throughout. This is exactly the type of wine that you pair with a quality steak.
Mullan road was founded by Dennis Cakebread – he is behind Cakebread Cellars as well! This is the family’s first foray outside of California. The Mullan Road itself is a fascinating piece of history in the Washington area.
Less than 4000 cases. This is the fourth vintage in, the 2015 red wine blend. This is a Bordeaux blend as well, continuing to feature the major grapes of this area. Interestingly, they lease various blocks in the Columbia Valley AVA.
This is a more mellow, fruity wine, with the red fruits of the merlot coming through. It’s an approachable wine, with medium complexity. Medium length finish.
2014 Malbec Classic Series
Located in the Columbia River Gorge, on the Washington side. Interestingly they work with 8 of the 14 AVAs in Washington and produce over 50 wines from 35 different grape varieties. They aim for affordable price points, this is only $26, and have a TON with which to experiment.
Bright purple! This is a young and bright wine, short and sweet… but not a sweet wine, it’s dry. I love that the tannins are not overly prominent in this wine, it’s not astringent at all.
Wine club members receive a 25% discount…. definitely worth considering for your day to day drinking needs.
2015 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. $38
It’s been around since 1962, founded by a group from 10 friends, six of whom were professors together.
First to produce single vineyard designated wine. Also the first to plant Syrah and Pinot Grigio in the area.
The diurnal shift in the Red Mountain AVA lets the grapes fully ripen, but also maintain structure. Very, very smooth wine, well integrated. Surprisingly it’s fermented in stainless, then racked into barrels that are 50% French and 50% American. The result really works, this is an elegant wine, without any tannin punch, but it’s still got structure.
First to make a right bank Bordeaux. First to co-ferment Syrah and Viognier like a Cote Roti.
Alas, this is exactly why you need to head to the tasting room! It’s only available there, so it’s time to plan a visit.
Pauillac AOC – Legende
This aims to make Bordeaux accessible to wine drinkers. Most of the grapes come from Chateau Lafite. $50!
This is about 70% cab and 30% merlot. 18 months on oak. This is a stronger Bordeaux tannin level, you’ll need something to eat to keep up with it.
2015 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Northern end of Napa, coming from Calistoga. 86% cab, 9% merlot, 4% pv, 1% cab franc
This is a combination of grapes from Rutherford and Vaca Mountain range.
Eucalyptus on the nose! This is very crisp and bright, a great example of good quality Napa Cab, delicate and not overpowering. Retails for $58. This is a family owned winery.
2015 Old Vine Cabernet
Retails for $100. They make 20,000 cases of wine. This is an uber reserve – there’s not a lot of this available my friends.
This is a wonderfully floral wine on the nose, particularly for a Cab. Gorgeous silver label, as an aside. This is a more delicate Cab, the oldness of the vines is noticeable. I highly recommend the wines from Bookwalter!
2015 Pinot Noir from Oregon
This is grown in the Dundee Hills, modelled after the styles of Burgundy. The strawberries and cherries on the nose are incredible, especially for the $30 price point. This is an extremely fruit forward pinot noir, it has that young flavour and is easy to drink on a hot summer afternoon. Make sure you’re serving this slightly chilled, so it gets that super refreshing aspect to it. It will open up as it warms up, to add even more fruit.
They make Italian style wines in Walla Walla.
They dry on mats for 3.5 months! This is a full bodied Amarone style wine.
Today we are drinking a ripasso style, passing fresh wine over the remaining must after making their amarone. It’s all the classic Italian grapes – Barbera, Sangiovese and Nebiolo. It blends together very smoothly, it’s impressive. It retails for $45 and they make 300-400 cases per year.
Bodega Bouza – Uruguay
The Atlantic creates a nice mild climate. The variety that does best in Uruguay is Tannat.
This Monte Vide Eu Bouza is a tannat merlot temprarnillo blend and it’s delightful! The tannat provides a nice structure, but the three varietals combine to create a wonderful flavour profile with length. It’s hailing from Montevideo, which as an aside, is an excellent place to visit! It’s the top tourist destination in Uruguay, and full of incredible restaurants. This wine retails for around $60 and is well worth it. Alas I do not have enough wine words to sufficiently describe it for you!
At this end of this speed blogging adventure, my vocabulary is down to “This is red wine.”
A votre sante, mon amie!