I managed to taste some interesting wines during a recent trip to Seattle. I had tasted a Teutonic wine exactly once so when confronted by a $28 bottle of 2012 Teutonic Wine Company, Pinot Noir, Laurel Vineyard Bergspitze Weisse, Chehalem Mountains no thought was required. It is in that lighter, more modern style coming from the west coast with clean flavors that showed tension between ripe and tart. It makes for a good glass to start off the evening. Also in the lighter vein is the outstanding NV Result of a Crush, Christmas Cuvee, Walla Walla. The Result of a Crush wines are produced using declassified fruit from Reynvaan Family Vineyards. Simply put, this beautiful wine had mouth filling flavors and an aftertaste that never quit! Buy all of the bottles you can find! At the opposite end of the spectrum, I find that the wines of COR Cellars are very flavorful and attractively priced. This bottle of 2012 COR Cellars, Momentum, Horse Heaven Hills managed to show the warmth of Washington State without being overwrought.
2012 Teutonic Wine Company, Pinot Noir, Laurel Vineyard Bergspitze Weisse, Chehalem Mountains – $28
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir sourced from 31 year old vines that was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 9 months in neutral oak. Alcohol 11.5%. This wine bore lighter flavors of Pinot Noir in a substantive body. The wine was tart towards the middle where a dose of acidity came out and with extended air, a stem-like structure developed. There was good tension between the tart and ripe before a hint of dry, black fruit came out in the finish. Overall while not the most complex wine it remained clean, flavorful, and in no way austere. ** Now-2016.
2012 COR Cellars, Momentum, Horse Heaven Hills – $20
This wine is a blend of 33% Merlot, 27% Malbec, 27% Petit Verdot, and 13% Cabernet Franc that was aged for 10 months in mostly French oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose remained aromatic and full-bore which preceded the dense, rounded start with its robust and firm black fruit. There was plenty of ripeness and young structure to boot. The wine clearly exhibits strength but it is not overdone. With air some salt and new wood pokes out before the good aftertaste. *** Now – 2018.
NV Result of a Crush, Christmas Cuvee, Walla Walla – $24
This wine is a blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier with 60% sourced from the 2013 vintage and 40% sourced from the 2012 vintage. Alcohol 13.3%. The light to medium strength matched the flavors and even took on some soil notes. In the mouth the wine had that lighter nature at first then became ripe and mouth filling with watering acidity and subtle expansion. This savory wine developed flavors of mandarin orange and revealed minerals at the finish. The ethereal ripeness of the aftertaste never went away! *** Now-2016.
I continue to purchase the wines that are featured on this blog. Hopefully this gives you a good sense of my interests one of which led me to pick up the 2007 Ridge, Zinfandel, York Creek. There is an uncanny ability for Ridge wines to develop and age but I feel this particular bottle drank at its peak. Indeed the back label reveals a development forecast to 2014-2016. The wine was a bit soft at first but once it firmed up the fruit, minerals, acidity, and structure were in pleasing balance.
Andy has been recommending wines as of late including the 2010 Chateau Ste Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canoe Ridge Estate, Horse Heaven Hills. This bottle must sport the largest ratio of mouthful-of-flavor to price out there. It is a seamless wine with dense, dark fruit matched by a chocolate vein. This will surely be a crowd pleaser, it was a bit too much for me though not fatiguing. Another recommendation from Andy is the 2011 Sbragia Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, Gino’s Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley. I had never heard of Sbragia before so if you have not then try this wine. It is more elegant but has complexity. I particularly liked the subtle orange and tobacco flavors. If you drink it now give it a few hours in the decanter otherwise try it at the end of the year. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2007 Ridge, Zinfandel, York Creek – $23
This wine is a blend of 78% Zinfandel and 22% Petite Sirah sourced from vines planted between the 1970s and 1990. It was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged for 12 months in new and used American oak barrels. Alcohol 14.6%. There were rather ripe aromas of macerated fruit. In the mouth there was a certain softness at first but the wine firmed up with air. There were minerally flavors of red and black fruit, appropriate acidity, and a supportive structure. The maturity came through with the cedar and wood-box infused finish. Drinking well right now. *** Now-2015.
2010 Chateau Ste Michelle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Canoe Ridge Estate, Horse Heaven Hills – $22
This wine is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 2% Syrah, and 1% Malbec which was fermented with both indigenous and inoculated yeasts in French oak barrels then aged sur lie for 10 months. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose revealed dense, ripe aromas of musky chocolate. Tasted over four nights the silky flavors of dense, dark fruit mixed with moderately ripe tannins and had no edges at all. This completely integrated wine was rich, smooth, and full of flavors including chocolate. The ample oak influence was matched by the fruit. *** Now-2016.
2011 Sbragia Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, Gino’s Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley – $30
This wine is a field blend of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Carignan, and 5% Petite Sirah sourced from 55 year old vines on the 5 acre Gino’s Vineyard. It was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Alcohol 14.4%. The lighter but complex nose made way to brighter red fruit in the mouth. The flavors were slightly tart but still ripe with strawberry notes and an orange hint. There was some tobacco as well as freshness from a little menthol. With air a lipstick component came out. *** 2014-2019.
These wines were casually tasted during my recent trip to Seattle. The Ash Hollow starts off lush from the very first glass and would be quickly finished in a social setting. But on the third night I was quite captivated by the nose and was almost content to just smell it. The Cor Cellars showed a bit more breed and remained confident in itself over three nights. I would be curious to try it again out of a wine glass instead of a tumbler. The Chateau La Garde had attractive black fruit but we all suspected this will bow down to its structure. The Syncline was nice. From a cooler vintage it offers up a bright profile of blackberry and red fruits which are enlivened by its acidity. I think it attractive and would stick a few bottles in my cellar for short-term aging. Please find my casual tasting notes below. The Chateau La Garde was purchased by Clark & Julia’s some time ago, the Ash Hollow and Cor Cellars were purchased at Whole Foods, and the Syncline was purchased at Soul Wine.
2008 Ash Hollow, Nine Mile, Walla Walla Valley – $20
This wine is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcohol 14.4%. The color was medium garnet cherry. The light nose was pretty with floral aromas, citrus, and tropical fruit. Nice nose. In the mouth the fruit was up from with some looseness. The black and red fruit was heady with some tang and spice followed by pretty fruit in the finish. This became elegant and attractive on the third night as it showed more restraint. Tasted over three nights.
2009 Cor Cellars, Petit Verdot, McKinley Springs Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills – $20
This wine is 100% Petit Verdot which was aged for 18 months in barrel. The color was a medium black cherry. In the mouth there was inky black fruit which was very focused with ripe flavors and some spice. The wine starts off very gentle then there is an expansion of flavors as it puts on weight in the finish. This seductive wine becomes a little racy in the finish followed by some warmth and tannins in the aftertaste. Tasted over three nights.
2005 Chateau La Garde, Pessac-Leognan –
Imported by Bordeaux Wine Locators. This wine is an almost equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Alcohol 13.5%. Popped and poured back and forth between glasses. The light nose offered up tight but enjoyable black fruit and eventually some black tea. The pure, youthful black fruit in the mouth was met by firm structure and fine-grained tannins. Decent flavors but it firmed up with air and appears that the fruit will subside and the structure take over.
2011 Syncline, Subduction Red, Columbia Valley – $20
This wine is a blend of 39% Mourvedre, 29% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 9% Carignan, 7% Counoise, and 2% Cinsault. It was fermented in open top as well as closed-top concrete Nomblot tanks with inoculated yeasts. It was then aged for 11 months. Alcohol 13.5%. The color was a purple ruby. The light nose has aromas of delicate black fruit, ripe red fruit, and some strawberry. In the mouth the flavors are framed with a firmness and well-integrated acidity. There are red raspberry fruits which are bright. A bit perfumed in the finish with darker fruit and citrus, followed by mild salivation, citrus notes, and a light amount of very fine tannins. With air the fruit shows delicacy and purity. I would cellar this for one year.
The three wines featured in today’s post were all purchased during my last trip to Seattle. During my previous trips to Seattle I have focused on the international offerings. But Jenn and I found ourselves craving the wines of Washington so I picked up some affordable red blends. The wines of Rulo, Domaine Pouillon, and Syncline have all be featured in previous posts. Of these three the Rulo, Syrca may be drunk now. Gather your friends so you finish the bottle on the first night when it is forward and lush. Pure pleasure. Both the Domaine Pouillon and Syncline require cellar age. I think the Syncline, Carignan-Grenache will eventually come around so please leave it in the cellar. The Domaine Pouillon, Pierre is a beautiful, balanced wine. With a few hours of air you get a good idea of its potential but it I would personally cellar it for several more years. These wines were purchased at Whole Foods and Wine World & Spirits.
2009 Rulo, Syrca, Walla Walla – $16
This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain and 30% Syrah from Columbia Valley. The wine was aged for 26 months in 50% new French oak. Alcohol 14.5%. The color is a medium purple-ruby. Tasted over two nights the light notes offers up scented violets with a touch of vanilla. In the mouth there is ripe fruit with a sweet touch of vanilla. The wine is creamy in texture with new oak tannins, black fruit, graphite, and spicy coarse tannins in the finish. This was best on the first night when it was lush. On the second night the fruit receded a bit with some tannins and heat poking through. *** Now-2015.
2008 Domaine Pouillon, Pierre, Horse Heaven Hills – $22
This wine is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Syrah sourced from the McKinley Springs vineyard. The wine was aged for 13 months in neutral French oak. Alcohol 14.7%. Tasted over two nights the light nose remained tight with precise aromas of scented berries and tobacco. In the mouth the flavors start off red then take on ripe, black fruit. Again the wine is precise with controlled sweet spices which expand in the mouth as the flavors slowly build and take on drying, chewy tannins which coat the inside of the teeth and lips. This is well made, finishing up with a little, racy cherry candy, very fine tannins, and fresh, subtle acidity. *** 2016-2024.
2010 Syncline, Carignan – Grenache, Columbia Valley – $20
This wine is a blend of 64% Carignan and 36% Grenache sourced from McKinley Springs vineyard. The hand-harvested fruit is destemmed, fermented with selected yeasts in open top fermenters then aged for 11 months in neutral French oak barrels. Alcohol 14.1%. Tasted over two nights the light nose remained tight with grapey cherry aromas. In the mouth the flavors of hard red and black fruit mix with a little juicy acidity. There are firm notes of graphite (rather fitting) red fruit, integrated tannins, and a little perfume. The tannins dry the tongue a bit. This is young and should be cellared. **(*) 2017-2025.
While I did not particularly recommend any wine in my previous Three Random Notes post, I certainly recommend both of the wines in this post. You will find on the neck of the COR Cellars bottles, Vinum Bonum Laetificat Cor Humanum, “Good Wine Pleases the Human Heart.” Well, both of these wines pleased my palate as well! The Badenhorst is just all-around good fun but I think I grabbed the last bottle. I asked Michael, proprietor of Soul Wine, for a $20 or less red blend from the Northwest and he promptly suggested the COR Cellars. Luke Bradford, proprietor and winemaker of COR Cellars, spent several years at Syncline whose wines I thoroughly enjoy. I enjoyed this wine of his as well and am amazed he can produce such a good wine from quality vineyards for such a low price. If I lived in Seattle I would head over to Soul Wine this weekend to pick up several bottles of the COR Cellars. The Badenhorst was purchased at Wine World and Spirits and the COR Cellars was purchased at Soul Wine.
2010 Badenhorst Family Wines, Secateurs, Red, Swartland – $15
Imported by Broadbent Selections. This wine is a blend of 74% Shiraz, 10% Cinsault, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Grenache, 1% Carignan, and 1% Mourvedre. The wine is fermented in open concrete tanks with indigenous yeasts for two weeks, pigeage occurs by clean feet, then aged for 14 months on the lees in casks, foudres, and concrete tanks. The color is a medium grapey, ruby and purple. The nose reveals brambly red fruit and coffee. In the mouth the flavors follow the nose but are a little darker with a roast note. There is some tartness along with coffee notes. Perhaps a touch of heat? On the second night it was opened up with good texture, coffee notes, supportive and fresh acidity, followed by brighter blue fruit in the finish. This was satisfying with drying, ripe tannins. This shows youthful strength but is not strapping. *** Now-2019.
2009 COR Cellars, Momentum, Horse Heaven Hills – $16
This wine is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 24% Petit Verdot, and 14% Malbec sourced from McKinley Springs Vineyards and Alder Ridge Vineyards. It was aged for 10 months in 90% French and 10% American barrels of which 60% were used. Alcohol 14.6%. The color is a medium purple-ruby. The nose is light-medium in strength with dark fruit showing some lift. In the mouth the flavors begin with blue fruit which rapidly becomes dark and dense, along with spicy cinnamon and creamy blue flavors. The wine is weighty in the middle but is kept fresh with acidity which eventually causes one to salivate in the aftertaste. The flavors lighten up in the finish leaving notes of Big-Red, dark fruit, and long, sweet spices in the aftertaste. *** Now-2019.
Domaine Pouillon originated at Reed’s Lane Vineyard when Alexis Puillon fell in love with his future wife Juliet. Together they started the winery. The estate has a 2.5 acre vineyard planted with Syrah, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne. Additional fruit is purchased from McKinley Springs, Coyote Canyon, Brehm, Jewett Creek, and Columbia Country Vineyards. Alexis first worked at Fetzer winery before he apprenticed at Chateau Beaucastel. This bottle was recommended by Michael and purchased at Soul Wine for $22. I would personally cellar this wine for a couple years before opening again. But if you must drink a bottle now then make sure you give it a few hours of air. Either way, this is a well-priced, balanced, enjoyable wine that I recommend you try. Both Jenn and I certainly enjoyed this bottle!
The McKinley Springs Vineyard was first planted in 1980. Today the grower Rob Andrews maintains over 20 different varietals located on 2000 acres of vineyards. Most of the vineyards are located at 800 to 1200 feet on soils of silt loam with a deep layer of broken basalt.
Coyote Canyon Vineyard has been in the Smith family for many generations. The prime products were wheat and Hereford cattle but in 1994 Bob and his son Mike planted 20 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2006 Mike’s son Jeff joined and the resulting expansion now encompasses 1100 acres of vines and 25 different varietals. The vineyards are located at the top of Horse Heaven Hills at 1000 feet. The soils are a mix of volcanic, loam, and alluvial flood deposits.
2008 Domaine Pouillon, Katydid, Horse Heaven Hills
This is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. The Grenache and Syrah are sourced from the McKinley Springs Vineyard whereas the Mourvedre is sourced from Coyote Canyon Vineyard. The grapes are fermented then aged in neutral French oak barrels for 11-12 months. This Rhone-styled blend had a light+ nose of good, finely textured fruit. Upon first opening, the wine shows leaner red fruit, gravelly spices then eventually fills out and ripens after a couple of hours. It ultimately becomes a medium-bodied wine with ripe, powdery, supple black cherry and red fruit. The acidity and tannins are well-integrated. ***(*) 2014-2019.
I shook it up by purchasing two Northwest white wines and only four red wines during my last trip to Seattle. I purchased the Rulo, Syrah from Pete’s Wine Shop with the remaining bottles purchased from Soul Wine upon Michael’s recommendation. I have a few more trips coming up so by the time these bottles have recovered from any bottle shock I will be back to taste them. So stay tuned!
- 2010 Maison Bleue, Au Contraire, Chardonnay, French Creek Vineyard, Yakima Valley
- 2009 Southard, Roussane, Lawrence Vineyard, Columbia Valley
- 2008 Domaine Pouillon, Katydid, Horse Heaven Hills
- 2010 Ayres, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
- 2009 Syncline, Syrah, McKinley Springs Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills
- 2008 Rulo, Syrah, Walla Walla