February 2, 2012

NYC Wine Tasting Group, Passport To Washington State Wines

2008 Thurston Wolfe Petite Sirah Zephyr Ridge Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley) – Petite Sirah grape
Thurston Wolfe is an artisanal producer of wines with personality. The production of these wines ranges from 48 cases to 588 cases so interested parties are advised to get on the mailing list. My personal favorite of the portfolio is the 2008 Reserve Petite Sirah Zephyr Ridge Vineyard. The 48 case production, by the way, makes Thurston Wolfe the largest producer of this varietal in Washington. It was aged for 26 months in 100% new American oak. Aromas of smoke, cedar, black pepper, leather, black cherry, and blackberry inform the nose of a smooth textured, dense, layered, full-flavored offering that conceals enough structure to evolve for at least another 5-6 years. This impeccably balanced, lengthy Petite Sirah will provide optimum drinking from 2016 to 2028 if not longer. Rated 94 The Wine Advocate

2008 Independent Producers La Bourgeoise Merlot (Columbia Valley) – Merlot grape
A great, lively Merlot from Washington State. Good structure, a nice nose of plums and a touch of thyme on the end. astorwines.com
The Independent Producers Merlot refocuses the attention of the drinker to a varietal that gives reason to its dominance in the world. With minimal winemaking intervention, Merlots ability to display grace, some say better than that of Pinot Noir, is unmatched. The world’s greatest merlots come from the Northern Hemisphere. Site specific, this wine derives from the Goose Ridge vineyard, known for wines of approachability and acidity, and the serious appeal of its condition is wonderfully expressed. Independent Producers is a project directed by Christophe Hedges, bringing to the table some of the more compelling Columbia Valley AVA vineyard sites. Winery

2008 Sleight of Hand Cellars Spellbinder Red (Columbia Valley) – 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 10% Sangiovese, and 9% Syrah grapes
Medium red. Scented aromas of crushed cherry, spices and pepper, with a slightly weedy topnote. Then juicy, intense and high-pitched, with the light weedy/herbal quality contributing to an impression of energy. Finishes with fairly sweet tannins and lovely aromatic lift. An interesting blend with some complexity. Rated 89 The International Wine Cellar Launched in 2007, Sleight of Hand Cellars has but one focus, and that is to craft exceptional wines from exceptional vineyards here in the state of Washington. Sleight of Hand Cellars has been named as one of the “The Next Generation” of up and coming wineries in Washington State by Seattle Magazine in July of 2008, as well as one of “The Next Cult Wineries” by the same magazine in August of 2009. Winery

2008 Dunham Cellars Three Legged Red (Columbia Valley) – blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah grapes
Winemaker Eric Dunham’s tribute to his “best friend”—a much-loved dog named Port—is as good as ever in this new vintage. Bright cherry fruit seems laced with tangerine and candied citrus. Tannins are smooth and there are finishing touches of mocha and tobacco. Rated 88 The Wine Enthusiast

2009 Revelry Vintners The Reveler Red Wine (Columbia Valley) – blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes
Owner/winemaker Jared Burns grew up in a wine-loving household, and after a few years in the sporting goods manufacturing business, he returned to his first love by launching this Walla Walla winery in 2006. This red blend reveals aromas of dark chocolate, mint, cherries, black olives, Whoppers and a whiff of smoke. On the palate, it offers flavors of cherries, black licorice and Marionberries, all married together with nice acidity and ample tannins. Wine Press Northwest

2008 Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Merlot (Columbia Valley) – Merlot grape
Dark and rich, this is packed with blueberry, plum and currant fruit that picks up hints of white pepper and floral notes on the finish. Lingering easily, this should hold nicely. Rated 90 The Wine Spectator