Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Friday, November 10, 2006

Three Great Seattle Wineries - Fall Line


Owned by Tim and Nancy Sorensen, Fall Line winery is living up to it's goals - balance, grace and depth. If you thought the 2003 Fall Line Red was good wait 'til you taste the 2004s. This year Tim made three wines - 2004 Horse Heaven Hills, 2004 Red Mountain, and 2004 Columbia Valley. The Horse Heaven Hills is 42% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon all from Destiny Ridge. The wine is medium bodied, smooth, balanced and graceful -delicious fruit flavors and soft velvety tannins. While it may last for five years, why wait. This wine is is totally pleasing on its own and will go well with the usual suspects, especially lamb.

The Red Mountain is 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc, and 10 % Cabernet Sauvignon from Artz Vineyard. For years, Fred Artz has quietly been Red Mountain Man,managing much of the fruit on the mountain for others. Now he has his own vineyard. This wine has the typical Red Mountain backbone on which to hang a rich deep dark fruit panoply. Typically structured, it is still quite drinkable on it's own and would be great with beef or buffalo. This wine will probably last for ten years, and certainly could benefit from one to two years of cellaring. It will be interesting to see how this wine evolves, but you could easily drink it tonight.

The 2004 Columbia Valley is one hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Forty-six per from Boushay Vineyard, 46% Artz Vineyard, and 8% Destiny Ridge. Here we have the backbone of Red Mountain fruit from Artz balanced by the always soft, velvety fruit from Boushay. Right in the middle between the Red Mountain and the Yakima Valley Boushay - perfectly balanced.

All these wines were aged for eighteen months in French oak barrels. Just enough to give them some backbone, but not so much as to make them undrinkable in their youth. Hand sorting, destemming and gentle basket pressing have yielded wines that are graceful enough to drink now with enough depth to keep for a while and improve for several years. The Horse Heaven Hills is full of grace, the Red Mountain has depth and the Columbia Valley is perfectly balanced.

If you missed the open house on November 4th, don't despair, the SSAW ( South Seattle Artisan Wineries) will be open again, three more times this year from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on November 18, December 2, and December 9. In addition to Fall Line, Cadence, Note Bene, and O-S will be open for tasting on these dates. What an opportunity to taste great Washington state wines at reasonable prices for the quality. Solve your holiday giving issues, with delicious wines that will show you to be a real wine connoisseur. Salute!

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