We also got greater clarity about some complicated relationships among winery names and product lines. Smasne, for example, also produces Alma Terra, Gard and Farmer Boy wines. Alexandria Nicole has a second line called Altered States Of Wine. Their unoaked Girl Next Door Chardonnay was quite good. The John Pattersons, father and son, seem to be shifting their winery name from Washington Wine Company to Patterson Cellars. They had cool music ( lots of people dancing), cool names like Big F'n Syrah and Recession Red. The Syrah was F'n Amazing and so is the price. In addition to Recession Red they are offering a "stimulus package". They have yet to offer "Crash", "Crisis", "Flaw", "Bailout", "Bonus", "Made-Off", "Greenspan Grenache", "Geithner's Unpaid Tax ", or "Bernacke Bordeaux Blend", but they are off to a good start.
Guardian Cellars offered their 2006 Syrah with pleasing soft cherry flavors. Darby English offered Chaos and Purple Haze. I was particularly fond of the Purple Haze. I sorely missed the Deuce Viognier/ Chard which will be released in a couple of months. Steve Snyder is having trouble with his plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but made fine light, tart, Roussanne from Horse Heaven Hills grapes. XSV wines were better this year. The 2003 Chardonnay seemed overoaked, but very French. the '03 Syrah from Horse Heaven Hills was unusually spicy and interesting. the '03 Cab was balanced, soft with good fruit.
The only new winery for me was Barrage a cross between barn and garage. Kevin Correll started making wine in a garage, thus earning his "Diplome Garagiste." He also has a certificate from U.C. Davis. In keeping with the style set by the gang in the hood, Kevin has a barrage of quirky, explosive names such as Nuclear Blonde, Trifecta, Secret Weapon and Alias. The wines are excellent with lots of character. Kevin figures with so many excellent winemakers around, he needs to do something a little bit different.
Adam's Bench, last year's next new thing, is still going strong thanks to the winemaking skills of owners Tim and Erica Blue. You had better get on their list before they are discovered. It is no myth that the 2007 Myth is an excellent wine. The barrel sample of this 50/50 Cab Franc & Merlot that we tasted was loaded with fruit, but had a slightly hot finish that should go away with bottling and a little age. I preferred the 2007 Reckoning, a blend of 48% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, in other words, a Bordeaux style blend. Beautiful black berry fruit. The 2006, being a year older is rounder and softer. Love them both! The 2006 Reserve Cab, aka, "The V", is another beautifully balanced Bordeaux style blend predominantly Cab Sauv(75%) with 23% Merlot and 2% Cab Franc blended in, more in the style of a left bank Paulliac. There also are a 2007 100% Red Willow Cab and an '07 "V" still in barrel. The '07 "V" has an incredible pedigree with fruit from Stillwater Vineyard and Discovery Vineyard. Discovery provides fruit to some of the best wineries in the state - Quilceda Creek and Andrew Will. Did you miss the Leonetti and Quilceda mailing lists? Here's an opportunity to get great wine at reasonable prices. You would pay twice as much for comparable Napa wine and moreyhan three times as much for Bordeaux.
We closed our session with an after hours visit to Hestia Cellars. Hestia is the Greek Goddess of home and hearth, but, trust me, there is nothing homely about winemaker Shannon Jones's wines. Shannon has acheived that magical trick of creating a wine both smooth and seemless, but big and full. Most of his wines are marked by deep purple colors followed by big rich fruit. Perhaps the winery should have been named after Hermes, the trickster, rather than placid Hestia. In any event this is definitely a "go to" winery, My faves are the Cab and the Syrah which would have getten scores of 91 and 93, if I were into scores
The boys and girls in the hood are doing a fine job. The whole hood is just F'n amazing. And so close to Seattle. Just think, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by just driving a few miles to Woodinville, instead of the Napa Valley. Then you can use your savings to buy wine instead :)