Archive for July, 2011


The Efeste Sign

After Matthews Estate I drove over to the Woodinville Warehouse WineriesEfeste is located off to the side and is a working winery, tasting room, and test kitchen.  Efeste is pronounced like the letters F, S, and T which are the initials of the last names of the owners: Daniel Ferrelli, Patrick Smith, and Kevin Taylor. Brennon Leighton is the wine maker and gained his preference for indigenous yeast while working at Chateau Ste. Michelle.  Although there was a small private event taking place and a tour, Daniel kindly poured the wines for me to taste and Brennon also stopped by the tasting bar.  I really liked the 2008 Ceidleigh Syrah and on a future visit I would certainly look for the Eleni and Jolie Syrahs.

Tasting Room Entrance

2010 Efeste, Feral, Sauvignon Blanc, Evergreen Vineyard, Ancient Lakes
This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the Evergreen Vineyard.  It was made with indigenous yeast and aged in 100% neutral French oak.  The nose was definitely wild with grassiness.  There are grassy flavors in the mouth with a sour-tilt to this different wine with notes of grape fruit.  While it is interesting, I was quite distracted by the grass aromas and flavors.  Not Rated.

2010 Efeste, Evergreen, Riesling, Evergreen Vineyard, Ancient Lakes
This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from the Evergreen Vineyard. It was made with purchased yeast.  More floral fruit of peaches, well done, fills the mouth with the aftertaste. A step up from the Feral Sauvignon Blanc.  Not Rated.

Tasting Room with Daniel and Brennen in the Background

2008 Efeste, Ceidleigh, Syrah, Red Mountain
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 40% Klipsun, 34% Ciel du Cheval, and 26% Ranch at the End of the Road vineyards.  It was made with indigenous yeasts and aged for 15 months in 22% new French oak.  There was a light nose of pure, dark red fruit and some lipstick.  In the mouth there are wild flavors of dark berries combined with heat breaking through.  The flavors turn towards pervasive, bright fruit, with an incense note that is consistent and attractive throughout.  My favorite wine of those tasted.  Not Rated.

2008 Efeste, Final-Final, Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Syrah.  The grapes were sourced from Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Kiona, Sagemoor, Bacchus, Red Willow, Boushey, Weinbau, and Stone Tree vineyards.  It was made with indigenous yeasts and aged in 54% new French oak. There is an interesting nose, similar wildness, but with harder fruit of black cherries and berries.  There are some scents in the finish and plenty of tannins.  This might be in an awkward, youthful state and should settle down in a year.  Not Rated.

2008 Efeste, Big Papa, Columbia Valley
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced with 35% source drom Kiona, 27% from Klipsun, 20% from Sagemoor, and 18% from Weinbau vineyards.  The vines average 31 years of age.  It was made with indigenous yeast and aged in 83% new French oak.  This is a young wine that reveals dark flavors of blackberry and other black fruits but no complexity.  There are plenty of tannins and medium-bodied flavors. The tannins develop and put this wine just over the top.  Not Rated.

Women's World Cup Final in the Tasting room

2008 Weingut Leth Fels, Roter Veltliner, Hofweingarten, Lagenreserve, Wagram

July 23, 2011 2 comments

Franz Leth, Image from Weingut Leth

Weingut Leth has been producing wine since the 1960s.  The soils are composed of an incredibly thick layer, up to 20 meters, of loam, sand, and chalk that provide both water and minerals for the vines.  The grapes are sourced from such vineyards as the Schieben, Brunnthal, Floss, Wagramterrassen, and Steinagrund vineyards.

Vineyards Near Fels am Wagram, Image from Weingut Leth

The Hofweingarten is a special wine just for the Domaine Select importer.  The grapes are sourced from various parcels located on Loss which are sandy gravel soils.  These parcesl are located on terraces between 200 and 300 meters.  This 100% Roter Veltiner is produced from vines that are 15-20 years old.  No herbicides have been used for 25 years and the vines are not irrigated.  The grapes are hand harvested then fermented and aged in stainless steel for three to four months.  There were 350 cases produced.

Franz Leth Junior, Image from Weingut Leth

I bought this wine for $16 from MacArthur’s.  I must admit I rarely drink wine from Austria so this was a bit of a wake up call for me.  I recommend this wine and will certainly be picking up other selections so I may explore this region in depth.

 2008 Weingut Leth Fels, Roter Veltliner, Hofweingarten, Lagenreserve, Wagram
This wine has a light color of green-yellow.  I drank this bottle over three nights and it held up quite well.  The nose released aromsa of crisp, green apples.  In the mouth this medium-bodied wine show ripe fruits that, again, tilt towards apple flavors.  The acidity comes out in the begining and keeps things lively as stone qualities and sweet fruit develop.  There is a gritty, tannic nature to the finish.  Good robust stuff that shows overall balance!  *** Now.

the Walrus and the Carpenter

July 22, 2011 1 comment

The Oysters with the Walrus and the Carpenter, "Through the Looking-Glass", by Lewis Carroll, 1871, Image from Wikipedia

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

Looking Through the Entrance

I was able to join Clark and Julia for dinner one night in Ballard at the Walrus and the Carpenter.  They are frequent patrons to the many restaurants and quirky bars that have opened over the years.  The mixture of 19th century buildings, originals features, new build outs, and creative energy has made Ballard a neighborhood that I enjoy visiting during each of my trips.  This is a popular restaurant and was recently featured by Frank Bruni of The New York Times.  They specialize in oysters and other dishes made from the freshest ingredients.

The Bar

We started off by ordering cocktails.  I chose the pamplemousse which is a mixture of aperol, white wine, and grapefruit juice.

The pamplemousse

Being a popular restaurant with fresh cocktails and only one bartender, our cocktails did not arrive until we were halfway through our plates of food.  We then opted to drink a bottle of the 2009 Antoine Arena, Rose Patrimonio, Corsica.

Wines by the Glass and a View Into Staple and Fancy Mercantile

The bottle was not chilled so our waitress dunked it in a big bowl of ice water to chill down.  Antoine Arena makes wine with his family from their biodynamic estate.  He aims to be regarded as the best produced on Corsica.  The Patrimonio Rose is a blend of 80% Niellucciu and 20% Vermentinu.  Niellucciu vines originated in the 12th century as Sangiovese vines that were brought over when Corsica was part of the Republic of Pisa.  The Niellucciu for this cuvee is sourced from the Morta Maio vineyard which was planted in 2001.  This wine is made primarily from the saignee method.  The color really stands out as more salmon than rose.  Very fresh with flavors of peach and minerals.

2009 Antoine Arena, Patrimonio

The Author with His Wine

They do not take reservations so if you find yourself waiting for a table and do not want to wander far then venture into the Dutch Bike Co. next door.  While examine the beautiful bicycles you may also have a drink!

The Cheerful Dinning Room

Entrance to Dutch Bike Co. with Drinks List on Door

Matthews Estate

After leaving the Amavi, Pepper Bridge, Ross Andrews, and J. Bookwalter complex I headed north towards the warehouse district.  I saw the Matthews Estate tasting room and made a quick decision to stop by.  I had a glass of the 2007 Matthews Claret during my last visit to Seattle so I have always wanted to try more of their wines.

Matthews Estate was started in 1993 and until recently, produced their wine in Woodinville.  This is evidenced by the design of the building and the fact that there are still bits of stainless steel equipment about.  There is certainly change at this estate.  The Estate Red Wine was declassified into the Claret in 2006 then the Estate Red Wine program was terminated.  Aryn Morell was hired by Matthews in 2007 and became the winemaker in 2008.  Matthews estate then moved production to Walla Walla with Aryn becoming a consulting winemaker as he also moved to Walla Walla to start a wine consulting company.  According to the Washington Wine Report Aryn’s focus is to produce “less forward, more elegant” wines.  Aryn is also the winemaker at Tenor.  If they can produce wines of restraint like the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from selections such as the 2007 Claret, they will be on track to elevate the entire portfolio.

Matthews Estate Tasting Room, Woodinville

2008 Matthews Estate, Blackboard, Red Wine
This wine is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 8% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Malbec, and 1.5% Petit Verdot sourced from 52% Horse Heaven Hills and 48% Columbia Valley.  It was aged for 20 months.  This wine has a light nose, of soft fruits but is still forceful.  In the mouth it is disjointed with black currant and some roughness.  There are coarse flavors in the finish.  A decent wine that needs some time to settle down.  Not Rated.

2006 Matthews Estate, Claret, Columbia Valley
This was aged for 20 months in 50% new and 50% in 2-3 year old French oak.  All of the flagship Estate Red Wine was declassified into the Claret.  This has a nose of meaty, red fruit and sour, red berries.  While this nose is softer than the Blackboard the dark core is mixed with some spice.  The flavors fill out in the mouth with blue fruits and a pleasing texture midpalate.  The aftertaste leaves very fine, puckering tannins on the lips and in the mouth.  Not Rated.

2007 Matthews Estate, Claret, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 3% Syrah, and 2% Malbec.  This was aged for 22 months in 40% new and 60% in 2-3 year old French oak.  With the Estate Red Wine officially cancelled those sources are now dedicated to the Claret.  As a result the Claret is made from a higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon than in the past.  This wine is more forceful with a meatiness that is appealing.  In the mouth the flavors are almost creamy with black berries and sweet minerals towards the middle.  It is almost too plump with chocolate notes in the aftertaste and pervasive flavors.  This is a significantly bigger wine than the 2006 and straddling the line of too much.  Still, it is a step up from the Blackboard.  Not Rated.

2008 Matthews Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Matthews Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
This is the first Cabernet Sauvignon since the last bottling of the 2001 vintage.  It is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Stillwater Creek and Hedges Vineyards.  It was fermented then aged for 21 months in 100% new French oak puncheons. This is made from declassified Tenor fruit.  It is a tightly wound wine with a nice mixture of wood and grape tannins.  The red fruit is almost tart and is delivered in a compacted manner that still reveal good flavors.  I enjoyed tasting the restraint.  This will have a strong showing after several years of age.  Not Rated.

Dinner and Wine at RN-74 in Seattle

Entrance to the Arctic Club Hotel

When I was tasting wine at Amavi/Pepper Bridge, Jennifer told me that I should really check out the new restaurant RN-74.  She was quite excited by the outstanding selection of Burgundies that the owner had brought over and were not available anywhere else in the state.  She said the prices were reasonable as well.  I did a double-take as there is an RN-74 in San Francisco designed by one of my friends.  This one was train themed too, it had to be an AvroKO designed restaurant.

AvroKO is an international firm run by the four long-time friends William, Kristina, Adam, and Greg.  I met William in the late 1990s when we lived in Seattle.  William was an interior designer and a local artist who was starting to gain a following.  Seattle could not contain his creativity so he left for New York City and helped start AvroKO in 2000.  Starting with Public NYC they now have designed a series of restaurants throughout the country and also Hong Kong.  Now that we have a young daughter the days of zipping up to New York to eat at William’s last opening are temporarily suspended.

I was feeling lazy after battling rush-hour traffic to get to my room at the Arctic Club Hotel.  I knew I had to eat but there were two wines I needed to taste in my room, making room service sound tempting.  The 2008 Rulo Winery, Syrah, Walla Wall was open and I liked it so I definitely wanted to take a note.  The 2009 Tried and True Tablewine would put me over my weight limit so it had to be tasted.  But Jenn reminded me that we rarely get the chance to visit one of William’s (AvroKO’s) restaurants so I should go and not worry about dumping leftover wine.

Self-Portrait Encompassing Two Parking Garages

The Arctic Club Hotel is decent but the immediate area is a bit barren and anchored by several parking garages.  I bucked up and headed over. The garages are actually interesting affairs and have a style that is quintessentially Seattle.


A few of the buildings along 4th Ave. subtly remind you of their property boundaries and distracted my attention.

Entrance at 4th and Pike

But then I caught sight of RN-74 and immediately recalled that just over a month ago I had passed by and wondered about the then, almost complete, restaurant.  While there is a lot of foot traffic in the area, it is not a corner that I would expect this restaurant to open at.  The front door was open and there was quite a buzz from all of the people, I forgot about the location.

Wine Selections, Interesting Lamps, and Communal Table

RN-74 is named about the Route Nationale that runs through Burgundy.  The wine list primarily focuses on the wines of Burgundy but Bordeaux is close by with many wines from the 1950s and 1960s.  The Rhone and other regions are well represented but not at the expense of Washington and Oregon states which are deep in vintages.

I sat at the bar to eat the Painted Hills Burger and taste some Pinot Noir.

Pinot and Beef

The higher-end wines-by-the-glass are poured from a Enomatic machine and served in Spiegelau glasses.  In case you have multiple glasses in front of you they label a ticket which is slipped around the stem.

Filament Bulbs

Being an AVROKO restaurant you find the thorough attention to detail, including graphics, the communal table, filament bulbs, dress of the staff (check out the shirts), and attention to both food and drink.  A small selection of the wines are listed upon the wall, evoking train tickers, but others are listed on a moving ticker.  I was tempted by the 2009 Gremenon, Les Laurentides, but Jenn and I have drunk it before and it is currently available at MacArthur’s. And I could not forget the bottles in my hotel room.  The prices on the ticker do move and not randomly.

Wine Specials

2000 Domaine Drouhin, Laurene, Dundee Hills, Oregon
There were 1900 cases of this wine produced.  This wine has a garnet color and a subdued nose.  There are still concentrated flavors of red fruits, tart berries, cherries, and vigorous grip.  There are some citrus qualities to the mature flavors.  The minerals or crushed stones in the finish integrate with fine+ tannins then blue fruits.  This bottle was well stored and in no rush to be consumed, what a nice treat and surprise to find by the glass.  Definitely new world and probably won’t develop a complex nose but it is good fun to drink.  There are ample, affordable wines that should be drunk mature but do not find their way to restaurants, let alone, served by the glass.  ** Now-2015.

2007 Chandon de Brailles, Volney 1er Cru, “Caillerets”, Burgundy
There were 148 cases of this wine produced.  It is a lighter color than the Drouhin with purplish tinge.  It has an interesting, perfumed nose of ripe, blacker-stone fruits..  The flavors in the mouth are darker, with initial red fruit then underlying black fruit developing, with a structured stone-like personality.  **(*) Now-2019.

2008 Domaine de Montille, Beaune 1er Cru, “Les Sizes”, Burgundy
This wine had the lightest color of them all and it was a rose/ruby.  There is a nice nose of minerals, red fruit, and some earth.  In the mouth the tart, red fruit was complemented by some spiciness.  As it was a new bottle it eventually revealed delicate scents on the nose.  ** 2015-2019.

J. Bookwalter

The J. Bookwalter Tasting Room Entrance

After visiting the Ross Andrews tasting room I headed over to J. Bookwalter.

The winemaker is a blending machine.  Not only is he capable of blending vintages but he adroitly blends varietals and vineyards.  I have included the compositions for various wines, not only because the vineyard sources are so important in Washington, but because I love the names.  Before my trip to Woodinville I had never heard of Elephant Mountain Vineyard nor Ranch At the End of the Road.  These wines do a good job of containing their alcohol and coming across as medium-bodied.  But the strengths of this winery lie at the extreme ends.  My recommendation is to drink the NV Subplot while the highly allocated Chapter 3 matures.

The Tasting Room

2010 Couplet
This is 74% Chardonnay and 26% Viognier entirely from the Connoer-Lee Vineyard in Columbia Valley.  It was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  This wine has a fresh, but sweet nose reminiscent of banana.  It is quite sweet and tart in the mouth with banana, brown sugar, and spice.  It is a bit odd and has a persistent aftertaste of sweet spice.  Not Rated.

2010 Anecdote
This wine is 100% Riesling that 34% was sourced from Charbonneau, 19% from Sagemoor, and 19% Bacchus of Columbia Valley with the remaining 28% from Sugar Loaf in Yakima Valley.  It was fermented and aged in stainless steel. This wine a light nose that combines funk and freshness.  It is a little sweet in handling the fruit but also acidic.  It leaves the impression of being forcefully made.  Not Rated.

Some J. Bookwalter Reds

NV Subplot #25
This is the 25th non-vintage wine made since 1983.  This is a blend of 48% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Barbera.  This is a blend of vintages encompassing 20% 2010, 32 % 2009, 37% 2008, 1% 2007, 7% 2006, and 3% 2005.  This saw a mish-mash of stainless steel and used French oak for aging.  This reveals purplish highlights in its color.  There are tart red fruits then ripe aromas mixed with darker notes.  With some air there are sweet, spiced aromas.  This is richer in the mouth, with ample sweet spice then soft, purple fruits, with some stuffing and surprisingly, no noticeable wood tannins.  It is actually an interesting wine and the best value.  It was my favorite along with the Chapter 3.  Not Rated.

2008 Foreshadow, Merlot
This wine is a blend of 81% Merlot, 11% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc.  These grapes were sourced from five vineyards: 33% Ciel du Cheval and 25% Klipsun (Red Mountain AVA), 24% Connor- Lee (Columbia Valley AVA), 11% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA), and 7% McKingley Springs (Horse Heaven Hills AVA).  The wine was aged for 18 months in new and one to two-year old French oak barrels.  I found soft, Merlot flavors that were gentle in the mouth and monotonic.  Not Rated.

2008 Foreshadow, Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 12% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc.  These grapes were sourced from six vintages: 26% Dionysus and 15% Connor-Lee (Columbia Valley AVA), 18% Klipsun and 10% Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain AVA), 27% Mckinley Springs (Horse Heaven Hills AVA), and 4% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA).  The wine spent 20 months in new and one to two-year old French oak barrels.  This showed brighter, red flavors as compared to the Merlot, along with some cinnamon toast spice.  A bit simple like the Merlot.  Not Rated.

2009 Antagonist
This wine is a blend of 88% Joseph Phelphs Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Merlot.  These grapes are sourced from 88% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA) and 12% Conner-Lee (Columbia Valley AVA).  It was aged for 16 months in new and  used French oak barrels.  This has the largest mouthfeel yet with purple, Syrah flavors that are balanced by an articulate nose.  There is heat in the finish, ample spice, and very fine tannins in the aftertaste that are from newer oak.  Not Rated.

The J. Bookwalter, Chapter 3

2007 Chapter 3
This wine is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot.  The grapes  were sourced from 47% Conner-Lee (Columbia Valley AVA), 23% Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain AVA), 22% Elephant Mountain (Yakima Valley AVA), and 8% McKinley Springs (Horse Heaven Hills AVA).  It was aged for 20 months in new French oak barrels.  There is a bit of fresh tuna, sweet sushi from the barrels, then sweet fruit followed by dark berry flavors.  The dense flavors are not overdone as they move on to a great mouthfeel. This wine needs age before it fully expands.  There is good potential if you do not mind some obvious oak in your wine.  Not Rated.

Ross Andrew Winery

July 20, 2011 1 comment

Entrance to the Ross Andrew Tasting Room

After a strong start tasting wines at Amavi/Pepper Bridge I walked next door to Ross Andrew Winery.  When I tasted the 2008 Syrah, Boushey Vineyard I suspected this might be the highlight of my day.  Six hours later I knew that it was.  It is worth the trip to Woodinville alone just to try this wine.  I am remiss at not purchasing a bottle or two but then I had decided not to buy any wine that day.  I still have this evening to check for any availability.

Inside the Tasting Room

The pedigree at this winery is great.  Ross Andrew Mickel is the winemaker and after working at DeLille Cellars and Rosemount Estate, he spent nine years as the assistant winemaker at Betz Family Winery.  Kirsten poured the wines and happily discussed the winery.

2008 Ross Andrew Winery, Syrah, Boushey Vineyard, Columbia Valley
This wine is 100% Syrah from three different Boushey clones.  The wine was aged 14 months in 70%  new and 30% old French oak.  There were 551 cases of this beautiful wine produced.  This attractive nose has very delicate aromas of berries, purple fruits, and herbs mixed with orange and citrus.  The orange aromas are incredibly lovely.  The nose is quite aromatic but not lifted.  In the mouth the savory flavors have a gritty component with almost subtle tannins that are very fine.  It is drinking well right now and well priced at $35.  This is a unique wine that must be tried by anyone with an interest in Washington wines.  It effortlessly stands above so many other wines.  Not Rated.

2008 Ross Andrew Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.  The Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval Vineyards on Red Mountain with additional Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Alder Ridge on Horse Heaven Hills.  The Merlot is sourced from Ciel du Cheval.  In the 2006 vintage the wine spent 19 months  in 100% new French oak.  This new release is still coming together in the bottle.  It starts off with slight aromas of stinky armpit funk (not from anyone in the tasting room!) then a alcoholic headiness to the blue and red fruited nose.  The blue fruits in the mouth are soft in texture and delivered in a linear fashion that gains tannins as it progresses.  This is a young wine and needs to be aged, but honestly, just taste and buy the Boushey Syrah.  Not Rated.

Blueprints for Wine Press Designed by Ross Andrew

2009 Andrew & Michel Quenard, Vin de Savoie, Chignin

The Quenard Winery, Image from Kermit Lynch

Inspired by Julie’s early posts on Swiss wines I tried this lovely wine from the Savoie.  This domaine is near the alps and encompasses 22 hectares of vineyards on steep, terraced hills.  Founded in the 1930s the wine was sold in bulk for 30 years until it was finally bottled at the domaine.  This wine is made from Jacquere vines that are 30-60 years old.  The four hectares of vineyards have soils composed of limestone screen.  The grapes are hand harvested and aged in stainless steel for nine months.

Chignin, Image from Kermit Lynch

This wine is imported by Kermit Lynch and was purchased from MacArthur’s for $16.  I really liked this wine as I am fond of minerals and stones.  It drank quite well over three days.  More importantly it has a great sense of place, is quite refreshing, and is a very strong value.  If you have never drunk a wine from Savoie go buy something from the Quenards.

 2009 Andrew & Michel Quenard, Vin de Savoie, Chignin
This wine has a light, crisp fresh nose of stones and orange citrus mixed with wet stones.  In the mouth the flavors start off crisp with many minerals than heavier fruit flavors develop before turning towards tropical notes.  As the acidity fades in the finish the ethereal flavors softens as flavors of stone develop in the aftertaste.  ** Now.

Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery

July 19, 2011 2 comments

The Amavi/Pepper Bridge Entrance

I promptly started my day at noon by visiting the Amavi and Pepper Bridge tasting room.  These are sister wineries that share the same founding partners and wine maker.  Except for the Amavi Semillon wine all fruit is sourced from Walla Walla.  The Pepper Bridge wines are made exclusively from the estate’s Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills vineyards.  Amavi also sources grapes from the Les Collines, Goff, and some contract vineyards.  The Amavi wines may be drunk shortly after release whereas the Pepper Bridge wines are structured for aging.

The Amavi/Pepper Bridge Tasting Room

Jennifer Schmitt was pouring wine.  She is currently the restaurant and wine manager at The Barking Frog and was previously the sommelier at Sea Star.  All of these wines are well made.  The large oak programs cause the Pepper Bridge wines to show ample tannins but fortunately do not show the vanilla aspect.  The 2006 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon was a highlight and has made me curious to try older vintages.

Three Wines from Amavi Cellars

2010 Amavi Cellars, Semillon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 88% Sémillon and 12% Sauvignon Blanc.  The grapes are sourced from  59% Les Collines, 23% Seven Hills, and 18% Goff vineyards.  It was aged in used French oak.  This wine has a fresh nose of citrus and lifted aromas.  In the mouth this roundish wine reveals plenty of minerals.  Not Rated.

2008 Amavi Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 5% Syrah, and 3% Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are sourced from  45% Seven Hills, 41% Pepper Bridge, 8% Les Collines, and 6% Goff vineyards.  The wine was aged in 88% French, 6% Hungarian, and 6% American oak of which 30% was new and 70% used.  This wine has a nose of lifted blue fruits and some pepper notes.  The flavors are delineated in the mouth with very fine tannins.  This is accessible and drinking well.  Not Rated.

2008 Amavi Cellars, Syrah, Walla Walla
This 100% Syrah wine is made from grapes sourced from 49% Seven Hills, 24% Pepper Bridge, and 27% Les Collines vineyards.  The wine is aged in 19% new and 81% used French oak.  This wine has a riper nose of purple fruit and does not show the pepper notes revealed in the previous Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  There is a tighter feel with minerals and finer tannins comes out as purple fruits develop in the aftertaste.  Not Rated.

Three Wine from Pepper Bridge

2008 Pepper Bridge, Merlot, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec.  These grapes are sourced from 51% Seven Hills Vineyard and 49% Pepper Bridge Vineyard.  The wine is aged for 17 months in 47% new and 53% used French oak. This wine has a somewhat closed nose of dark fruits and it is immediately obvious that these are made in a different style.  There is more concentration to this savory wine.  There is good medium bodied flavors with fine integrated tannins.  This well-done effort currently does not offer as much as the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not Rated.

2008 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot,  4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are sourced from 58% Seven Hills Vineyard and 42% Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine is aged for 20 months in 48% new and 52% used French oak. This wine has a similarly dark nose as the Merlot, with more heady aromas.  In the mouth it is somewhat round with some salt, licorice, and a perfumed finish.  The finish shows some heat and wildness while the aftertaste leaves an ample amount of fine, mouth coating tannins.  This has strong potential and needs at least a few years in the cellar.  Not Rated.

2007 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot,  5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are sourced from 58% Seven Hills Vineyard and 42% Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine is aged for 20 months in 52% new and 48% used French oak.  This wine is has a lovely nose of darker, meaty fruits.  There are richer flavors in the mouth, some roast.  There are fine coating tannins but they are less overt than in the 2008.  There is power lurking below in this wine.  While it clearly needs some age I do not think it will reach the level of the 2006.  Not Rated.

2006 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The grapes are sourced from 56% Seven Hills Vineyard and 44% Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine is aged for 21 months in 55% new and 45% used French oak  This wine is in a great stage right now.  Again, there is a dark, meaty nose, with inky flavors delivered with a good mouthfeel.  The purple waves of flavor develop into long-lasting blue fruits with a creamy aftertaste.  I rather enjoyed this and am very happy that Jennifer opened up the bottle.  Not Rated.

2008 Mayor Viticultors, Glop, Priorat

July 18, 2011 3 comments

The Temporary Winery, Image from Mayol Viticultors

I grabbed this selection from Mayol Viticultors because it was an unknown producer to me, it is from Priorat, and priced at $18.  This is a family run estate with a long history of cultivating vines.  After early awards for wine during the 1870s and 1880s, for the next century it appear the family primarily sold their grapes in bulk.  Between 1979 and 1991 additional land was acquired and the vineyards were replanted in an effort to grow high quality grapes.  Mayol Viticulturs was founded in 2000 and they started producing their own wines in 2004.

Torroja del Priorat des de La Plana d'en Ricard, Image from Mayol Viticultors

Les Pereroles, Image from Mayol Viticultors

There are five vineyards totalling 25 hectares located in Torroja del Priorat and Porrera.  Half of the vineyards are used for production while the rest are still maturing.  The vineyards lie at an altitude of 300 to 650 meters and contain soils mainly of Llicorella.  The vast majority of the vines are seven to thirty years old.

This wine is distributed by Elite Wines and available for sale, at the low price, of $18 at MacArthur’s.  This would make a good introduction to an international style wine from Priorat.  I am certainly curious to try their Brogit and Torroja selections.

 2008 Mayor Viticultors, Glop, Priorat
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, and 10% Carignan that was aged in oak barrels for four months.  This wine was drunk over two nights.  The nose has aromas of maple syrup on waffles with very gritty, purple aromas.  The nose is a little bit heady, with some hard, woody herb notes.  In the mouth there is blacker fruit, again heady, with stone-like delivery of flavors.  These good-textured dark blue fruits reminded Jenn of “fruit cobbler.”  The aftertaste leaves lip coating tannins. The wild nature of this wine remind me of the vineyard images.  *** Now-2017.