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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go West Young Man!

Amazing! This is almost real time blogging from Walla Walla. Today we checked out wineries West of Walla Walla on Highway 12 as you come into town from Seattle. One could imagine a game of hopscotch among wineries trying to be the first to greet wine tourists on the road into Walla Walla. Such a game of musical chairs would be so 1990s, so California, but I can hardly imagine the down-to-earth folks of Walla Walla playing such a game. As it turns out Woodward Canyon is first and they have been there for quite a while, founded in 1981 by Rick Small.

Next up is L'Ecole #41, founded in 1983 by Marty Clubb. I got to talk with Marty about his newest interest - Ferguson vineyard, 18 acres above Pepper Bridge or was it Seven Hills. Like so many other winemakers he has been bitten by the "sustainability" bug.
As I tasted through L'Ecole wines, they all seemed lighter and friendlier(too friendly?) than they used to be, but it seems to me they used to have more character. The Semillons are less intense, the reds less deep. The Fries Vineyard Semillon goes with tuna. The 2008 "Walla Voila" Chenin Blanc shows lots of interest with a floral spicy nose, round and fruity body, and a hint of spice and citrus in the finish. Much more enjoyable than 99% of Chenin Blanc based Vouvray from the Loire Valley. The 2006 Walla Walla Cab has great fruit in the nose an is an altogether satisfying wine. The 2006 "Apogee" is the apogee of the the L'Ecole line up. Fortunately, the Perigee is not the perigee but not as wonderful as the Apogee. The 2006 Columbia Valley Syrah was pretty good, too.

Moving right along, we come to the new kid on the block - Glencorrie, owned by Ronn Coldiron and ably managed by Heidi Harrison. Wow! Awesome! Ronn is a geologist who runs a consulting firn in California. With the help of Charlie Hoppes, Glencorrie has fashioned it's first wines from Stillwater and Gamache grapes. The 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium bodied wine with very appealing fruit and lots of character. It gets your attention. It stands out from so many ever so pleasant wines. As usual the Walla Walla version of Cab ( Widrow & Dwelley) is more upright, more serious - a good food wine. The 2006 Cuvee Marquis is the gem in the show - round, soft, but exciting! Sourced from multiple vineyards around the Columbia Valley. This is an up-and-comer. A winery to watch! The next new thing! Get on their mailing list. BTW, they are having an Open house June 29th in the evening. Call 509-525-2585.

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