Winery website: www.sweetvalleywines.com
It’s not too often we get the chance to see an up and coming winemaker from his/her humble beginnings – on the path to “wine rock-stardom” – this is the case with Sweet Valley Wines’ own Josh McDaniels and his team. Still fresh out of college, Josh’s zeal and passion for his wines is as clear as his witty and fun attitude on life, which I think is refected very much so in the wines he makes.
Sourcing the best fruit he can get his hands on from Walla Walla and Columbia Valley means that Josh is like the fat-kid in a candy store with a go-pass – except his liquid candy helps improve our lives. While there are pro’s and cons to sourcing fruit vs. estate (I get it, really) – I do think that for most smaller wineries having the flexability of multiple vineyards is a bonus.
Sweet Valley’s Righteous-series wines are more value-priced, QPR (quality-to-price ratio) -driven and are priced in such a way to help the winery get its products out to a larger audience and it makes sense in today’s economy.
2007 Righteous Malbec – W.E.P. Rating: 85%
- Vineyard Source: Alice Vineyards at King Fuji Ranch on Wahluke Slope
- Alcohol: 14.1
- Cooperage: 18-months in 500 liter puncheons – French and American oak
- Cases produced: 92
- Price: $16
Nose: Red vines licorice that’s been doused in white pepper, cherry soda and some blackberries and cinnamon stick.
Taste: Cherry blossom, apple core, black peppercorn, bosch pear (I know and odd one in a red wine), tobacco leaf, rose petal. Excellent mouthfeel, lingering finish – a no-brainer of a Malbec for the money.
A very youthful wine that honestly would do well to sit in the bottle another year or so – very tight tannin structure with good fruit forward action. A solid effort from a young winemaker which should please those looking to try a decent alternative to the infamous Argentina malbec commotion.
2007 Righteous Red Wine – W.E.P. Rating: 90%
- Coulmiba Valley (80% Walla Walla Valley)80% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah, and 2% Petit Verdot
- Vineyard Sources: Forgotten Hills, 7 Hills, Arete Vineyards and Alice Vineyards
- Alcohol: 13.6%
- Cooperage: 18-months French and American Oak
- Cases Produced: 792
- Price: $12
Nose: Eucalyptus-laced plums, black cherries, drakkar men’s cologne, dill, anise, gym sock, burnt almonds.
Taste: Cherry coke, white pepper, cacise, rhubarb, black pepper, cherry-flavored cough syrup. Good general mouthfeel with tight, young tannins. This wine will be better in the next year or two – it’s very youthful right now and a fun dinner wine or party-time red.