Walla Walla Arrival
On our way to Walla Walla, we stopped for a picnic at Sagelands. Sagelands is a bit of an anomaly among Washington wineries. A mid-size ( 50,000 cases?) winery among small boutiques and a few giants. The wines actually vary from vintage to vintage and I felt that the 2004s released these were , for the most part, just not as good as the great value 2003s, especially the Four Corners blends which are widely available in supermarkets. However, the 2004 Cab from Dovol Vineyard was exceptional, like the 2003. Alas, it is only available at the winery. The 2004 Merlot Select was quite good, too - also, available at only at the winery. Definitely worth a stop, on a trip to the wine country. BTW, the Doval and the Merlot Select are great buys at about $20.
As usual, we stopped at the schoolhouse on the way into town. L'Ecole No. 41 usually produces excellent wines although in 2003 and 2004 I found a lot of the wines disappointing. IMO, the Semillons are the benchmark distinctive wines here. Usually the best Semillons in the state, the 2005 Semillons seemed weaker than their ancestors. The 2005 Columbia Valley Semillon, formerly "barrel select", was very light and easy, a good summer quaff, but not the more substantial stuff of the past. The Fries Vineyard showed more complexity but not really to my gout. The Seven Hills was sold out. The 2005 Columbia Valley Chard was fresh, light and easy with a hint of lemon - another good summer wine. The 2005 "Recess Red", a blend of six grapes, is predominantly Merlot. It had a beautiful complex nose, but needs a year or two to get rid of the modest tannins. Reminds me of the 1998 Nelms Road Merlot from neighbor Woodwood Canyon .
Bob & Kathy just arrived. Gotta go....