Posted on 20 January 2011.
Some wine lovers out there haven’t even heard of the grape, Petit Verdot so that alone makes them somewhat intrigued. What is it? Well, it’s one of the six red Bordeaux varietals that for the longest time was only used for blending. The reason for this is because it generally has a longer ripening time than the other Bordeaux grapes in France so it sort of fell out of favor there. However, in the New World, where hotter temperatures can help it ripen faster, it has attracted a lot of winemakers.
Richard Funk, owner and winemaker of Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla Washington has fallen in love with this wonderful grape and his current 2007 release totally reflects that love and passion.
- Appellation: Walla Walla Valley
- pH 3.63
- TA 0.54 g/100mL
- Alcohol 14.7% By Volume
- Fermentation: 36-hour cold soak; Open top fermenters with cap punched down by hand three times per day. Secondary fermentation finished in barrel.
- Barrel Aging: 100% New French oak barrels
- Aged 21 months
- Cases Produced: 190 cases
- Bottling Date: June 11, 2009
- Release Date: October 1, 2010
- Price: $30
Nose: Smells like a blackened prime-grade New York Steak – very “meaty” on the nose. Good aroma’s have charred wood, plumsauce, boysenberries, blueberry and blackberry jam.
Taste: First off, this wine kicks some major ass – it’s like a Slip-N-Slide flavorama of black licorice, blackberry jam, squid ink, plums and beef. The mouthfeel couldn’t be better and the overall “hang time” of the finish is obnoxiously long – in a good way. Easily the best Petit Verdot I’ve had anywhere at anytime. Would pair well with grilled steaks, veal meatballs or game.
W.E.P. Rating: 120%
Winery website: www.saviahcellars.com
Posted in Petit Verdot, Reviews, Washington Wines
Posted on 09 June 2010.
Hailing from the greater Wenatchee Washington area, Saint Laurent winery makes a big deal of owning its own fruit which in this day and age can be a good thing. While it’s clearly not a guarantee of great wine it can help and it certainly hasn’t hurt the flavor of the 2009 Riesling.
Its winemaker, Craig, has a good pedigree and has worked with some of the better winemakers in Washington State, including the infamous Charlie Hoppes.
- Estate Vineyards Riesling, from Malaga Vineyards
- R. S. 2.4%
- Alcohol 11.7
- Bottled March2010
- Cases 400
- Price: $12
Nose: Stone fruit – peaches, apples and a hint of pear that I pick up right off the bat. I’m also getting some nice minerality and a bit of ivory soap.
Taste: Apricots, green apples and bosch pears flood the initial attack with a nice group of back-up singers in the form of peach-skins, blue-stone and something tastes like Tide laundry detergent smells. Good crisp finish that brings out some good acidity and structure – would be an easy pairing with seafood ceviche, scallops or even some lightly-spiced thai-foods and sushi.
A solid effort for $12 and frankly one that should be a no-brainer, go-to everyday Riesling.
W.E.P. Rating: 110%
On the web: www.saintlaurent.net
Posted in Reviews, Riesling, Washington Wines
Posted on 04 June 2010.
Like most small wineries, Willis Hall prides itself on staying as close to the “purity of the fruit” as possible and sources from the best vineyard sites it can get its hands on. Winemaker, John Bell, is extremely passionate about his craft and is always eager to share the wines he produces.
Willis Hall has sort of carved out a small cult-like following and is one of the wineries that are starting to put Snohomish County on the map (well, that and some help from the scores Quilceda Creek wines have garnered).
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting John a few times now over the past several months and am always impressed on how personable he is and the gleam in his eye whenever you get him started talking about wine – it’s great to see his passion.
2005 Cabernet Franc: Charbonneau Farms – W.E.P. Rating: 100%
- Alcohol by Volume – 13.2%
- Blend – 90% Cabernet Franc; 10% Merlot
- Vineyards – Charbonneau Farms
- Barrels – 100% French Oak (50% New; 50% One Cycle Used)
- Ageing – 22 Months
- Price: $32
Nose: Cherries, raspberries, black cherries. The smell reminds me of a warm, safe place where as a child I’d Hide (Guns n’ Roses rocks!) – seriously, this wine has comfort-101 all over the nose. It’s pleasant, soft and full of fruit that you’d love to pound by the fistfull.
Taste: The sheer balance of tannin structure and dark fruits of this wine are “off the chain” – this is a Cab Franc that is truley world-class and shows good evidence as to why Washington State kicks ass with this grape. It has the classic darker berry fruits on the front-end with an incredible mid-palate transition that layers on a sort of caramel-pie-crust-like layer and the finish lasts for weeks.
2005 Dolcetto – W.E.P. Rating: 90%
- Alcohol by Volume – 13.7%
- Blend – 91% Dolcetto; 9% Sangiovese
- Vineyards – Morrison Lane; Snipes Canyon Ranch
- Barrels – 100% French Oak (40% One Cycle Used; 60% Neutral)
- Ageing – 22 Months
- Price: $28
Nose: Shampoo, black cherries, rhubarb, sour cherries, white pepper, bubble gum and beef jerky.
Taste: Good amount of an ocean-spray tartness that goes on in the fruit attack of this wine – flavors of cherries, raspberries and lognberry. A solid mid-palate transition that brings on some nice layers of cocoa, white pepper and a hint of medicine cabinet. Good finish that lingers on nicely for hours.
On the web: www.willishall.com
Posted in Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Reviews, Washington Wines
Posted on 06 May 2009.
Powers Winery in the Richland WA, has been producing wines for longer than most other wineries in the state – its legacy extends back to 1982, which for WA is a decently long time. Started by brothers Greg and Bill Powers, they also produce wine under another label called Badger Mountain. It was also one of the first wineries in our state to transition to 100% organic grapes back in 1992 – long before it was the savvy thing to do.
2006 Reserve Meritage: W.E.P. Rating: 90%
- Vineyard Sources and Grape Varities: 31% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coyote Vineyard (Wahluke), 22% Merlot from Katharine Leone (Wahluke Slope, Milbrant), 21% Malbec from Goose Ridge (Columbia Valley), 18% Petite Verdot from Alice Vineyard (Wahluke), and 8% Cabernet Franc from the Estate (Columbia Valley)
- Copperage: The Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec both were in new wood (French), the rest in 3-4 yr old.
- Bottled in August of 2008
- ph: N/A
- Alcohol: 14.2%
- 240 cases made
- Price: $35
Nose: Blackberries, tar, pie crust and some herbaceousness.
Taste: Black plum, blackberry and black cherries combined with some leather, sweaty sock, firm tannins and a finish that lingers quite well. This wine should easily lay down for the next 5-10 years.
2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: W.E.P. Rating: 90%
- Vineyard Source: Champoux Vineyard
- AVA: Horse Heaven Hills
- Release Date: 04-01-09
- Residual Sugar:0.0
- pH 3.74
- Price: $30
Nose: Obvious cherries, blackberries and big league chew, pomagrante, brussel sprouts on the nose along with some vanilla-laced tobacco.
Taste: I get dried cherry, shoe-leather, dark chocolate, tobacco, anise, not a bad mouth-feel, hints of smoothness and a good finish. This wine would be a natural pairing with prime rib or grilled steaks topped with blue-cheese; however, at it’s price of $30, there are some better values out there – to me this wine is currently bringing about a $20 experience.
Winery website: www.powerswinery.com
Posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Reviews, Washington Wines
Posted on 16 April 2009.
Winemaker, Chuck Reininger, of Reininger Winery in Walla Walla WA has been producing premium wines from the fruit of local Walla Walla vineyards for over a decade now. Along with his primary label of Reininger, Chuck also launched another label called Helix – this wine always features grapes sourced from the Columbia Valley which opens up a new direction for him and the style of wines he wants to produce. For those who may now know, Columbia Valley has been growing wine-grapes for a much longer time than Walla Walla and still has arguably the best fruit in the state.
In this review, we look at their Sangiovese and Pomatia:
2005 Sangiovese: W.E.P. Rating: 90%
Vineyards: Stillwater Creek Vineyard
- Blend: 100% Sangiovese
- Total acidity g/100ml
- Cases Produced 327
- Price: $30
Nose: Some good bluebeery components at play along with bubble-gum, rhubarb and some veggie action.
Taste: Peppered bacon with some eucalyptus and tart rhubarb on the front-to-mid palate. Good spice, pencil lead, pepper and a striking finish of dark fruit on the end – good finish and acidity which makes this wine an easy pick for many types of food.
2005 Pomatia: W.E.P. Rating: 120%
- Vineyards: Ash Hollow, Bacchus, Minnick, Pepper Bridge, Phinny Hill, Pleasant, Seven Hills, Stillwater Creek
- Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Syrah
- Cooperage: 52% French, 42% American, 8% Russian Oak, 9% New Oak
- Bottled: August 2007
- pH 3.9
- Total acidity: .593 g/100ml
- Production: 3265 Cases
- Price: $21
Nose: Elmers glue, blackberry, blueberry and some road-kill funk – some nice black pepper, and smoked paprika.
Taste: Huge black fruit on the front palate – an onslaught of blackberries, black plum and black cherries for days. I get some stellar hints of dark chocolate, pepper, leather mit and some char. Its finish lasts a long time – the tannin struture on this wine is stellar for its price point and the overall finesse it has proves to be one of the more memorable wines I’ve had at this price. Nice lingering finish of fresh black fruits, pencil lead, ink and leather.
Winery Website: www.reiningerwinery.com
Posted in Reviews, Washington Wines