Barnard Griffin – Reserve Round-up Review

Rob Griffin is one of the most well-respected winemakers in the State of Washington – his depth of knowledge in regards to making wine in that state and of its various wine regions is about as exhaustive as anyone could hope for.

In 1983, he teamed up with Deborah Barnard and started up what has no evolved into one of the most recognizable Washington wine labels – the accolades he’s earned for that winery have kept their brand and identity held in high regards among many wine drinkers.

In this review, we take a look at five of BG’s reserve wines which are all made with grapes that I know a lot of people aren’t drinking as much as they should be of:

2008 Rose of Sangiovese – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
  • Cool fermented in stainless tanks
  • Residual Sugar: .0g/100ml Dry
  • Acidity: .79g
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Price: $12.00
nose: Ripe watermelon, catelope, honeydew and strawberries with white pepper, elmer’s paste and fabreeze. I also get a hint of pineapple skin and vicks cough syrup.
Taste: Tastes like a melon-based fruit salad that’s been mixed with tonic water and a small dash of pepper. Across the mid-palate it does tend to get a bit hot and also shows notes of a sweaty gym sock and some luden’s cherry cough-drop action on the back end which lingers quite nicely.

Nose: Ripe watermelon, catelope, honeydew and strawberries with white pepper, elmer’s paste and fabreeze. I also get a hint of pineapple skin and vicks cough syrup.

Taste: Tastes like a melon-based fruit salad that’s been mixed with tonic water and a small dash of pepper. Across the mid-palate it does tend to get a bit hot and also shows notes of a sweaty gym sock and some luden’s cherry cough-drop action on the back end which lingers quite nicely. A really nice summer-time wine.

2006 Reserve Petit Verdot – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Grapes: 100% Petit Verdot
  • Alcohol: 13.9%
  • Price: $35.00

Nose: Band-aids, blackberry, dark cherry and cabbage – I also get what reminds me of the smell of a blackberry smoothie.

Taste: Sort of a vegetal dark-fruit-driven wine as I get the nice layers of blackfruit – blackberry, blueberry, plums and I also get sort of a greeness coming thru like asparagus tips. The finish is pretty long and wraps things up with some nicely-rounded mineral-laden fruits sliding down the throat.

2006 Malbec – W.E.P. Rating: 75%

Technical Data:

  • Grapes: 100% Malbec
  • Residual Sugar: 6%
  • Acidity: .66g
  • ph: 3.57
  • Alcohol: 13.4%
  • Aged 18months in old and new European Oak
  • Vineyard Sources: Freepons and Lonesome Spring
  • Price: $35

Nose: Nlack cherry bubble gum Black plums with peppercorns, radishes, burnt rubber, concrete dust.

Taste: Cedar saw dust, black cherries, blueberry - A bit over-oaked, however, there’s some really nice components going on with this wine. It has the big, black fruits that I appreciate in many malbecs yet comes across quite heavy-handed. There’s a great deal of fruit here that’s trying to caress your palet but the oak is too over powering.

2007 Reserve Grenache – W.E.P. Rating: 95%

Technical Data:

  • Alcohol: 13.4%
  • Acidity: .66g
  • ph: 3.57
  • Aged 18months in old and new European Oak
  • Price: $25.00

Nose: Rose petals, brussel sprouts, black pepper, cherries, locker-room funk – a smell like those rubber mats we used in high-school during the week of gymnastics.

Taste: Firm tannin structure speaks to the youth of this wine – nice amounts of peppercorn, plums, raspberries, cherry. A good fruit-forward attack with some nice spice action across the mid-palate which transitions into layers of leather, cherry-coke, and a slight play of bubblicious. Good acidity on the backend – would be a nice wine to pair with any red-sauce pasta dishes or various tapas.

2005 Reserve Barbera – W.E.P. Rating: 100%

Technical Data:

  • Alcohol: 14.8%
  • ph: 3.68
  • Acidity: .67g
  • Harvest date: 10/07/2005
  • Vineyard sources: Gunkel Vineyard
  • Aged 14 months in old and new European Oak
  • Price: $30.00

Nose: Cedar smoke, blueberries, dried plums, raisins, molasses and a slight hint of casise.

Taste: light brown-sugar coasted blueberries with some cedar shavings tossed into the mix and a touch of liquid smoke. I also get some cinnamon with citrus – think of like a cinnamon scone with and orange marmalade sort thing going on. Good mouthfeel from the solid tannins and a finish that is pretty good – I’d easily hit this wine all day long with Sgeghetti and meatballs or any sort of mediterannian-inspired food dish that has rich cheeses.


Conclusion:
The Barbera was definitely my overall favorite out of this mix, however, one thing is quite clear and that is Washington State has the potential to grow grapes that will go toe-to-toe with any other region in the world. Additionally, the grapes represented in this review are ones I would highly encourage everyone to seek out as they will help grow your palate and encourage you to expand your horizons.

Winery Website: www.barnardgriffin.com