Most Riesling connoisseurs have long considered Germany, specifically the Mosel Valley, as the varietal’s rightful throne. This is probably still true. The Mosel Valley’s unique, steep slopes of sun-absorbing slate have allowed the cool climate of Central-Western Germany to create ideal Riesling wines for over 150 years. But, as Riesling slowly grows in popularity, vintners around the world, the United States included, are giving it a go in new regions and climates. It is no wonder. While the retail sales of Pinot Gris outgrew all other white wines from 2004 until 2007, Riesling has taken that title for the last few years.
This unusual blend of 52% Sangiovese, 36% Syrah and 12% Mourvèdre is appropriately named as it is a riot in a glass. A nose of fresh cherries and berries jumps out in your face. There is youthfulness in the palate and yet the complexity makes it a very age worthy wine that makes you want to revisit later. Can’t beat the price for the quality.
A smoky and meaty wine with a mouthful of blueberries and just as dark and dense as ink. Believe it or not, I was served this wine with a dessert of cheesecake with a sweet cherry sauce on top. It worked. Oh my how it worked, leaving a finish of sweet dark port and milk chocolate. From dessert to game, this Syrah can handle it all.
L’Ecole has been producing Merlot since 1983 and after all of these years, they still have the “touch.” With the addition of 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon the nose is spicy showing a palate of dark cherries, plums and brambleberries. And last but not least, a long finish of chocolate and pepper.
The L'Ecole No. 41 2008 Estate Luminesce is from Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley. Pale straw in color, this blend of 70% Sémillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc offers a nose of grapefruit and lychee with a touch of honeysuckle and slate. Bright minerality on the palate, with more grapefruit and citrus, the Luminesce finishes with a little touch of lemon zest. Perfectly balanced. A great pairing for seafood. Released in September 2009, Luminesce is 14.2% alcohol by volume. The fruit is sourced from sustainable-farmed vineyards, and the wines are certified Salmon Safe. Read more on Another Wine Blog.
A classic Bordeaux-style white blend of 69% Sémillon, 26% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle. I believe this was the first time I had ever tasted Washington State wine with Muscadelle. The nose on this white wine was of honeysuckle and the palate was clean, fresh and dry with taste of melons, lemon and a bit of honey.
A blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Syrah from the Walla Walla Valley at Les Collines Vineyard, located at the foot of the Blue Mountains. I definitely knew it was Walla Walla fruit from the smoky nose that reminded me of autumn nights in the Walla Walla Valley. And just like the first time I enjoyed it a year ago, I found myself with my nose deep into the bowl of the glass constantly soaking in the familiar aroma. It is a very layered wine, which I feel is due to the addition of the syrah being responsible for the extra richness of the wine. Flavors of cherry and plum pies exploded in the mid-palate while leaving a long finish of caramel and crème brulée. To sum it up in one word: Elegant. For Catie’s full review see her blog Through the Walla Walla Grape Vine.
In 2006, the Port of Walla Walla in Washington State constructed buildings to serve as space for new start-up wineries. Inside the five whimsical-colored buildings, that resemble a village out of “The Simpsons” cartoon, are winemakers with an entrepreneurial spirit and the dream of someday flying away from the incubators to be on their own.