Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tasting Notes: Washington Wines (from Pacific Coast correspondent)

One of the best things about being into wine is the people you meet and get to hang out with. Sometimes these people will even step up and drink wine for you if you're away (like Dan) or they'll take notes and send them even after moving all the way across the country. Hence the following notes from the Pacific Coast correspondent for the Random Oenophile blog, James Bassett, who is always happy to share about the wonderful wines he gets to drink in Seattle:

From a Washington wine tasting:

2008 Cavatappi Stimulus Package
white (blend unknown)
Plenty of ripe, bright peachy fruit. Easy to drink. Some minerality keeps it from being too sweet. Nice -- great summer quaffer! Wahluke Slope.

2008 Naches Heights Vineyards Riesling
Wide, faintly apricot nose. Short, buttery attack gives way almost immediately to a fruity Riesling palate.Great acidity, full-bodied. Off dry style. From the highest Riesling block in Washington.

2007 Naches Heights Vineyards Syrah
Beautifully smoky/dusty/plummy aroma. Licorice. Elegant, rich flavor, dark berries and pepper. Gold medal - Sunshine and Wine Competition. Grown at 1800’ elevation on the Goat Rocks Andesite lava flow.

2006 Willow Crest Cabernet Franc
Light yet flavorful bright red bouquet of berries and sweet cherry, faintly dusty undertones. Long, tantalizing finish, with vaguely citrusy afterhints of carambola or other tropical fruit.

2006 Ross Andrew "Glaze" Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Ciel du Cheval, Alderidge and Klipsun vineyards. Complex nose of dark fruit, toast, bacon and vanilla. Tobacco? Loads of plums, cassis, and raspberries finishing with spice and a touch of pepper. Dry but not necessarily tannic.

Other wines:

Corvidae Wine Company, Columbia Valley, WA
The Keeper 07 Cabernet Franc

From David O'Reilly, one of the brightest stars of PNW winemaking. A stunning, full-bodied Cab Franc, with a rich nose of tobacco and lush vegetation, like walking through deep forest after a rain. Smoky, smooth tannins. The flavor adds cedar, spice, bell pepper, cassis, and dark currants to the tobacco, and finishes with a surprising hint of olive. Powerful in ways beyond its 14.1% alcohol content. Tastes even darker and more mysterious than it looks, and the label is the best I’ve ever seen -- a true work of art by itself.

Sagelands Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Columbia Valley, Washington

Ripe fruit nose with a hint of licorice and chocolate. Dark black/blueberry and cherry palate. Smooth, subtle tannins with a leather/tobacco backbone lead into a lingering licorice and cocoa finish. Very very nice.

Go Girl Red 07
Working Girl Wines, Columbia Valley (WA)
71% merlot, 29% cab franc
Fruity nose. Exceedingly jammy -- blackberry, a hint of vanilla, light and yummy, but a bit too sweet. Long, strong finish, higher on the palate

Winery also makes Working Girl White (Chardonnay/Riesling), Rose the Riveter, and Handyman Red (Bordeaux). I'll try those next. The reds, at least....

Hedges CMS Red 2007
Hedges Family Estate, Columbia Valley (WA)
42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 51% Merlot and 7% Syrah.

Beautiful red-purple color with a deep, tannic nose. Bright vanilla fills the mouth on first taste, full of berries (red, black, and blue), cloves, and earthy coffee. The vanilla stays high on the palate as toast (yum!), cloves, and tannic earthiness develop into a long, slightly aggressive finish. Very, very nice -- probably ties with the Sagelands for my second favorite Washington wine (after The Keeper) so far. In a more European tradition, The winemakers apparently prefer minimal “intervention” with all of their wines, so this is only lightly filtered. (and vegan!); this may be responsible for that unexpected (but not at all unpleasant) aggressiveness at the end.

James is a sculptor, freelance editor, and author in Seattle, Washington. You can find out more about him at his web site.

No comments: