With their 2017 vintage, production director Rick Small and winemaker Kevin Mott have added to that legacy with a brilliant Chard sourced from their usual two sites: Cello Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, and their own Woodward Canyon estate vineyard in the Wall Wall Valley. Not so for winemaker Michael Savage, whose Cello Chard is a fine value, offering nervy acidity and a dry flavor profile that combines lemon curd, mineral and subtle spice notes.
Whether the wine’s insistent generality comes from those rocks or is inherent to the grapes seems not to matter once it’s in the glass. Pink debuted with the 2015 vintage, and in four short years has captured the imagination of Satellites and become one of the fuzziest roses released each spring.
The fruit purity is exceptional here (strawberries and raspberries abound), and the texture is seamless and polished. Vintners 2015 Rhone Blend Brushed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, $40 Winemaker Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen splits his time between W.T.
Here he has crafted a blend of about one-third each of Grenade, Sarah and Mourned, all from a single hillside of Brushed Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This beautifully balances elements both fruity (blackberry) and savory (smoky bacon, briny olive), all on a supple, easy-drinking frame.
Fermented with 50% whole clusters (stems and all) and then aged in a mix of large puncheons and small barrels, this wine revels in the funky, savory side of Sarah, with meaty smoked sausages and brackish seaweed complementing a core of blueberry fruit. It’s a pan- Washington Sarah, featuring seven different vineyards across five of Washington’s Ava, and it features a core of marionberry fruit lifted by floral top notes and complicated by savory threads of bacon fat and sanguine generality.
Vintners 2015 Gorgeous Sarah, Destiny Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, $30 The blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon was aged entirely in new French oak, and it offers an appealing nose combining plummy fruit with dusty earth notes, mocha and rosemary.
Dark fruits (plums, huckleberries) commingle with high-cacao chocolate in this delightful truffle of a wine. This Merlot includes 13% Cabernet Franc, and all the grapes come from Stillwater Creek Vineyard.
Aged in French oak (60% new) for just shy of two years, this wine displays a pair of the characteristics that make Washington Merlot so compelling: complexity (in the form of earth and tomato-paste savory notes overlaying a core of cherry fruit) and structure (in the form of toothsome finishing tannins). The BEST OTHER RED BLENDS Underground Wine Project 2015 Idle Hands Red Mountain, $30 Trey Busch and Mark McNally’s Underground Wine Project takes home a second prize this year (their Mr.
That new American oak adds appealing notes of vanilla bean and cocoa powder to a wine bursting with cherry and raspberry richness. Classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis and cedar coexist with subtleties of beetroot and rhubarb, all on a supple, polished frame.
BEST SPLURGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Canvasback (by Duck horn) 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain, $40 In 2013, Napa Valley stalwart Duck horn purchased a 20-acre parcel of land on Red Mountain and launched Canvasback, its first foray into Washington state. Industry veteran Brian Ruin is the local winemaker for Canvasback, and this is his first Cab that includes a portion of fruit from the estate vineyard, called Long winds.
In total, this wine includes 13 Red Mountain vineyards, so it is a fine representative of the AVA as a whole, offering chewy, black-tea-flavored tannins aplenty as structural underpinnings for a wine bursting with black currant fruit and rose petal nuance. BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION CABERNET SAUVIGNON Passing Time 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills, $80 Washington native Damon Hard partnered with fellow quarterback Dan Marino to launch Woodinville-based Passing Time four years ago with the 2012 vintage.
Their winemaker from the beginning has been Chris Peterson (Ravenna), and he works wonders with this Cabernet, primarily from a pair of special Horse Heaven Hills sites: Campus and Discovery. The wine sees 21 months in French oak (80% new) and offers wonderful pencil-lead generality to complement a core of black currant fruit and smoky baking spice.
Nominees that received the most votes in the categories of wineries, winemaker, vineyard and homelier were selected as winners. The approximately 90 wines receiving the most votes in the varietal categories qualified as finalists for a blind tasting held on March 18.
That tasting was conducted by a panel of three industry professionals (Paul Literally of Full Pull Wines, Mark Sakai of Metropolitan Market and Chris Horn of Heavy Restaurant Group) who evaluated the wines on the basis of appeal in regard to sight, smell and taste in order to come to a consensus on the winners within each category. Also, a minimum of 95% of the grapes used in the production of the wine must be from a vineyard located within Washington state, or from one of the three federally recognized interstate Ava that include acreage in Washington state (Columbia Valley, Wall Wall Valley and the Columbia Gorge Ava).
Winners in categories involving people, places and wine experiences also must be located in Washington. For a varietal to be considered in its category, it must be made with at least 75% of the grape variety that is grown in Washington state.
Our annual blind taste test of Washington wines reveals the best reds, whites and roses at every price point While it’s true that Washington State it still very much a frontier region when it comes wine, there are many undiscovered gems.
If you’ve been lucky enough to sip on the more nationally recognized labels like Hedges CMS, Ste. As a Washington resident, I’ve been observing the massive growth from the inside (vineyard acreage has gone from around 35k acres to over 50k) and have some useful insights to offer.
All the Ava of Washington State, including Columbia Valley, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, and more. So far, there is still confusion from within the industry about which wines excel in Washington’s high desert climate.
Several serious producers have realized this about the grape and are now turning out smoky Sarah wines from Ava like Yakima, Columbia Gorge, and Wall Wall that have some of us yelling “Northern Rhone Sarah!” and quivering with glee. As it happens, WashingtonGrenache, Mourned, Grenade Blanc, Pioneer, Rosanne, and Marianne (those sexy bold whites) are amazing too.
Washington is an arid, high elevation wine region with ample irrigation from snow melt. A few ambitious producers (like Anna Schaefer from Maurice) worked harvests in Argentina and noticed how similar the climate was to Washington.
Washington Male is dense and fruity, but because of the cold nights, it’s able to retain ample acidity (super important with this particular variety). If you need more convincing (I don’t believe me either), listen to a smart person such as Master of Wine, Bob Beta, talk intelligently about the potential of Washington’s Petite Vermont on a podcast from Guild of Smelters.
Bordeaux Blends A string of 100-point wines out of the esoteric Horse Heaven Hills AVA during the mid 2000s caused everyone to start snooping around Washington State for more Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends (the blend includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Vermont and Male). And while Washington Cabernet Sauvignon –as a single-varietal wine– doesn’t seem to have the same balance as Napa Valley, the Bordeaux-style blends are phenomenal.
If you think about the vine’s traits: drought-resistant, savory flavors, ability to handle American oak, etc., it holds major potential in Washington’s soils. Dry Riesling and Gewürztraminer Both of these varieties seem an odd choice for the warm climate, but given the cold nights and cooler growing areas (closer to the Cascades), we’ve seen some surprising Riesling and Gewürztraminer from Washington’s soils.
Riesling is definitely one of the most important grapes planted in the state, and given the large Asian and Indian populations around Seattle, it ends up matching really well with the everyday Seattle foods of for, samosas, and pad Thai. Nebbiolo: All it takes is one producer trained in the style of Harold to show us the potential of this grape in Washington.
Chen in Blanc: A chameleon grape that can be either lean or rich, sweet or dry. Limburger: (aka Blaufrankisch) A German grape that produces a fruity, low-tannin wine that’s kind of like if Pilot Noir and Sarah made a baby.
Class Vineyards’ Grenade 2017 was praised by Michele Elizabeth, a contributor to Later, as a smooth, pleasant wine with richer notes and a burst of red fruit flavors. Grenade is grown on over two hundred and forty thousand acres of vineyards in the regions of Southern Rhone, Provence, Bouillon, and Languid.
Despite being less well known, they are actually the second most grown grape variety in France, behind only Merlot, which constitutes over two hundred and eighty thousand acres. In addition, you’ll find it grown in vineyards spanning California, parts of Australia, and Sardinia, an Italian isle.
Compared with other wine grapes, Grenade is fairly simple to grow but can be especially susceptible to volatile climates and temperature changes in general. It actually grows best in climates that are hot, arid and windy, with warm soil with proper drainage.
As far as fermentation, Grenade is actually quite tricky–too long and the wine risks becoming overly tannin, and barrel aging can easily overwhelm the subtle, fruity flavors. Slow cooked pork, goulashes, and even hearty vegetable dish stews all work well.
Fattier meats are complemented with the fruit flavors and fuller body, so long as it’s Grenade that presents complexity. For an exceptionally earthy stew, Spanish Grenade blends tend to be a nice choice.
Wild game like venison and rabbit tends to have very pronounced potent flavors that can be difficult to pair wine with, but Grenade and Grenade blends with deeper berry notes help balance out the strong flavors and complement with a touch of bold fruity notes. Grilled lamb chops and skirt steak are both succulent, slightly smoky, heavier dishes that are suited paired with wither rich French and Spanish blends, or purely Grenade wines from the United States and Australia, especially those wines with those darker, more intense cherry notes with full body.
As a rule, Grenade pairs best with red or especially robust meats, but it’s also used with hearty root vegetables, lentils, and earthy notes like mushrooms. Aging Grenade in barrels tends to soften fruity flavors and makes it more acceptable for pairing with a robust seafood dish like Paella or a fatty fish like salmon, but generally, most people prefer the bold fruity side to Grenade and serving it alongside bold meats.
In order to find the bestGrenache wines, it’s essential you can identify the best characteristics, and what emphasizes all Grenade has to offer. The general rule is that Grenade is a very fruity wine, normally deeper red fruits such as dark cherries and berries.
However, you want Grenade that contains layered flavors, with smoky or spicy notes like tobacco, anise, and even a spice, because that will provide the best in complexity. When blended with Sarah, you want a bottle of wine that adds accent notes of pepper and some floral profile, though the berries should still be the most prominent flavor.
Grenade from Sardinia often present some herbaceous, more savory notes which are best suited with root vegetables and heavier stews. Just make sure you still see berry notes and cinnamon or something like it present, or you risk losing the best of classic Grenade flavors.
Grenade from Northern Spain should present classic cherry flavors, but with a tint of citrus, either grapefruit or orange. Because of this, you’re looking for a slightly brighter and lighter take on Grenade, one which can go with heavier seafood or fatty fish dish.
On the fuller side, Grenade offers the best in its signature notes and holds up to heavier vegetable and meat dishes. While aging tends to add complexity, the risk here is that you’ll end up with those candied fruit flavor notes fading.
Stick with Grenade wine blends which incorporate grapes such as Sarah, Consult, Again, and Mourned. When comparing Grenade and Garcia, you find the same wine variety, but call it differently referring to its origin.
Due to its light level of alcohol and tannin, this is a great wine to enjoy chilled. And while all of these wines are highly recommended, we’ve kept the price at fifty dollars a bottle and under.
This purely Grenade wine still features the classic deep fruit flavors, with a bit of balsamic and toasted notes which makes it a fine accompaniment for game meat and richer red meat like lamb. You’ll notice red and black fruits with layered flavor notes and is an overall pleasant experience.
Cherry and blackberry present those classic deep fruit flavors, while a bit of black pepper adds some spicy component, making this a suitable wine for serving with grilled food. While the 2007 label is highly acclaimed, 2008 or later is far more affordable, with a price tag under fifty dollars per bottle.
Dorsal Tree Picks Garcia 2017 : Though it’s under twenty dollars a bottle, this Grenade wine from Spain is a favorite, easy choice, with prominent notes of dark cherries and raspberries present with a smooth and pleasing finish. Las Rocks Garcia 2016 : This is a nice selection for a Spanish an aged Grenade with enough structure to hold up its signature if softer flavors.
The plum notes well suit the classically rich cherries and black raspberries. This is an excellent choice for grilled meat, even with a bit of char, or a spicier dish.