Review: Hard Row to How – Round-up

When Don and Judy Phelps started this winery a few years ago they drew inspiration from the old brothel that once “served” the local mining community of the greater Lake Chelan area. For those not familiar with the landscape of this beautiful region in Washington State, it is indeed a bit different than Columbia Valley. Lake Chelen itself is one of the deepest lakes in the world and is has plenty of high hills in its general area – cooler climate grapes do very well in this region and Judy has the winemaking prowess to know what works there and what doesn’t.

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2008 Pinot Noir Rose’ – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

Cases Produced
100
Appellation
Columbia Valley – Lake Chelan
Vineyard
Cortelli
Harvest Date
October 25 , 2008
Brix at Harvest
24˚
Blend
n/a
Barrel Regime
none
Final Analysis
Alcohol 13.8% • TA 0.7 g/100ml
pH 3.4 • R.S 1.1 %
Release Date
June 2009
Retail Price
$18.00
Wine maker
Judy Phelps
Awards
Rated “Excellent” by Wine Press NW
Silver Medal – Washington Wine Competition
  • Cases Produced: 100
  • Appellation: Columbia Valley – Lake Chelan
  • Vineyard: Cortelli
  • Harvest Date: October 25 , 2008
  • Brix at Harvest: 24˚
  • Blend: n/a
  • Barrel Regime: none
  • Alcohol 13.8% • TA 0.7 g/100ml
  • pH 3.4 • R.S 1.1 %
  • Release Date: June 2009
  • Retail Price: $15.00

Nose: Cherries, white pepper, strawberries, ripe kiwi and a touch of fabreeze

Taste: Refreshing fruit attack on the front palate with a solid transition into the mid-region that starts layering those good cherry and strawberry components. I get a nice white pepper action on the finish which I feel compliments the strawberry flavor rather nicely.

I went 90% on this wine because at the $15 mark there are whites from other regions like Spain and Argentina which offer a bit more complexity at the same price-point.

2008 Shameless Hussy Roussanne – W.E.P. Rating: 85%

Technical Data

  • Cases Produced75
  • AppellationColumbia Valley
  • VineyardWhite Heron- Mariposa
  • Harvest DateSeptember 25 , 2008
  • Brix at Harvest24˚
  • Blendn/a
  • Barrel Regimenone
  • Final Analysis Alcohol 13.8%
  • TA  0.8 g/100ml
  • pH 3.5  • R.S 0.7%
  • Release DateJune 2009
  • Price: $15

Nose: Apricots, sea water, coral, peach skin and pears.

Taste:A spritzy tongue-bath of apricots, peaches, pears and a hint of carmel. I get an rather interesting vanilla-like mid-palate transition that hits me pretty good. Decent finish on this wine – a bit too hot for me, however. Would be an easy pick for shellfish, sea-bass or just to enjoy on the patio with the sun out.

2006 Cabernet Franc – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Cases Produced: 180
  • Appellation: Wahluke Slope
  • Vineyard: Riverbend
  • Harvest Date: October 20, 2006
  • Brix at Harvest: 24.8˚
  • Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
  • Barrel Regime: 50% American 50% French : 30% new
  • Alcohol 14.1%
  • TA 0.53 g/100ml
  • pH 3.8
  • Release Date: September 2008
  • Price: $25

Nose: Candied rose petals, cherries, vanilla, creme brulle.

Taste: Good balance of black licorice, roses, carmel and black cherries on the intitial taste. I like the mid palate transition which gives way to notes of leather, dark chocolate, tobacco and tar. A nice finish that lingers on for hours and makes you want more.

2006 Syrah – W.E.P. Rating: 75%

Technical Data:

  • Cases Produced: 400
  • Appellation: Wahluke Slope
  • Vineyard: Riverbend
  • Harvest Date: October 2, 2006
  • Brix at Harvest: 24.5˚
  • Blend: 100% Syrah
  • Barrel Regime: 25% new French, 25% new American; 50% Neutral
  • Final Analysis: Alcohol 13.5% • TA 0.55 g/100ml
  • pH 3.6
  • Release Date: January 2009
  • Retail Price: $28.00
Nose: Inky plums with cocoa, raisins, black cherries and a bit of the typical syrah gaminess. leather and some pomegranate.

Taste:
Good plum action with anise, chocolate, nice acidity across the mid palate but gets a bit disjointed for me on the back-end. Not a bad effort, but it’s not my fav.

2006 Zinfandel – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:
  • Cases Produced: 237
  • Appellation: Wahluke Slope
  • Vineyard: Pheasant
  • Harvest Date: October 24, 2006
  • Brix at Harvest: 25.8˚
  • Blend: 75% Zinfandel; 25% Merlot
  • Barrel Regime: 60% Neutral, 40% new oak
  • Alcohol 15.5% •
  • TA 0.65 g/100ml
  • pH 3.9 •
  • RS= .6 g/100ml
  • Release Date: September 2008
  • Price: $35
Nose: Shoe polish, leather, black tar, blackberries, cherries and raspberries.
Taste: Black pepper covered charred bell peppers with raspberry jam, blackberries, tar bubble and a nice hint of jalepeno-raspberry and blueberry finish on the end. Superb mouthfeel, good balance of the fruit, acid and alcohol make this a very food-friendly wine that really does kick ass.
This is a great Zinfandel, no doubt, and would easily stand up to a lot I’ve had from California, however, at $35 dollars it starts to out-price itself a bit – in my opinion – because in that price-range it starts to go with the better Zins from the likes of Ridge etc and could get lost int he shuffle.
Winery website: www.hardrow.com