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Jan. 16, 2012

FRESHPRESS

Walla Walla Vintners is one of the oldest wineries in the Walla Walla Valley and has enjoyed nearcult status since the 1990s. (Eric Degerman/ Wine Press Northwest)

Fresh Press is a weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest magazine. In each edition, we review recently released wines from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. Feel free to forward to your wine-loving friends and family. For more information on our tasting methods and review process, please go to the last page.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

Spotlight: Walla Walla Vintners 225 Vineyard Lane, Walla Walla, WA, 99362 509-525-4724 • http://www.wallawallavintners.com

WALLA WALLA — Few images of Pacific Northwest wine country are as iconic as the red-roofed barn just off Mill Creek Road in Walla Walla. And those who taste the wines from Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri have found their way back since Walla Walla Vintners was bonded in 1995. The success of their winemaking talents, blended with friendship, prompted them to hire Bill vonMetzger in 2002 — first as a part-time winemaker. “As Walla Walla Vintners grew in that time period, we found that it was too much to run the business, market the wine and produce the wine,” Venneri said via email. “Hiring Bill allowed Myles and I to focus more time and energy with our customers and without compromising on the quality of our wine. It has been a good fit for us.” Venneri — a certified public accountant — made sure bringing on another winemaker would pencil out. Anderson, founding director of the renowned Walla Walla Community College viticulture and enology program, hand-picked vonMetzger while still a student. The Colorado native has helped Walla Walla Vintners double its annual production in the past decade, growing from 2,500 cases to 5,000 cases. “We worked with Bill on the Walla Walla Vintners style of making wine,” Venneri said. VonMetzger described the Walla Walla Vintners style as “approachable young, but in the back of my mind and in my heart, we also want to make the wines that will stand up for 10-12 years.” The 2005 vintage was the first time their young winemaker felt “really in control,” vonMetzger said. “That vintage has a sweet spot in my heart.” Subsequent vintages would seem to indicate that vonMetzger is steering the wines away from the opulent oak tones that traditionally made some Walla Walla Vintners wines stand out in blind tastings. Regardless, the wines age deliciously. “In the early years when Bill first started working for us, Myles and I were still very involved in winemaking. We worked as a team,” Venneri said. “Over the years, we have relinquished more and more control over the winemaking process to Bill, and even though Myles and I help out, the majority is being handled by Bill.” Each year, the lineup generally focuses on two bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon, a Walla Walla Valley Merlot, a Columbia Valley Cabernet Franc, a Syrah, two bottlings of Malbec, the blend called Cuvée and a Super Tuscan-style blend. The estate vineyards that surround the winery, vines planted in 2008, are coming online. The 11 acres include Brunello clone #6 Sangiovese Grosso, four acres of Cabernet Sauvignon (clones 4 and 6), four

acres of Merlot (clones 3 and 15), two acres of Syrah (Tablas Creek and Phelps clones) and a half-acre of Petit Verdot. Full production of those vines — which hasn’t happened because of cool vintages in 2010 and 2011 — is expected to account for a third of Walla Walla Vintners’ grape supply. “Our future goals are not to make more wine but better wine and focus on the estate wines from the vineyard around the winery,” Venneri said. And those looking for white wines or dessert bottlings will leave Walla Walla Vintners disappointed because they don’t make them. With Anderson’s long background as an educator, it’s no surprise Walla Walla Vintners takes a thoughtful approach its library tastings. They often invite Northwest media to join them during their retrospective look at bottlings of their Cabernet Franc, Cuvée and Sangiovese. “I look for how well the wines are aging and how well we did,” vonMetzger said. “I knew what they tasted like then, and I like to see how they are holding up. I’m looking for consistency. For example, if you are familiar with the 2005 Cuvée and three months ago you took the last bottle out of your cellar and want to come get something similar, we want you to be confident that the 2008 or 2009 Cuvée is going to have similar threads running through it so you won’t be disappointed.” And perhaps no winery in the Northwest gets as serious with its wine-pairing suggestions as Anderson and Venneri. For example, here are the directions offered up for their 2009 Merlot: “Rack of lamb coated with crushed ground hazelnuts, minced roasted garlic, chives, thyme leaves, Parmesan, and buttered breadcrumbs blended together with salt and pepper. Oil the racks and pack the

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

Spotlight: Walla Walla Vintners crushed mixture around the lamb. Make an essence of Merlot by reducing one bottle of the Merlot with one cup of chicken stock until the liquid coats the back of a spoon (about 45 minutes). Preheat the broiler, spoon the essence over the crush-covered racks, and broil about ten inches from the heat source for 8 to 10 minutes. Let it rest, then spoon more essence over the racks, slice and serve with a bottle of authentic 2009 Walla Walla Valley Merlot.” However, it’s difficult to comprehend devoting an entire bottle of Walla Walla Vintners wine to the creation of a reduction sauce. Recently, Walla Walla Vintners began to fire up the wood-fired oven behind the winery for special events. And last fall, Walla Walla Vintners created a wine club, capping it at 150 members. Walla Walla Vintners is open Friday afternoons, Saturdays and by appointment during the week. And “The Vintners” will be taking their show on the road, pouring Feb. 27 with other Walla Walla wineries at Pure Space in Portland and again March 12 at Sodo Park in Seattle. Outstanding! Walla Walla Vintners 2009 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $28. Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri don’t make a habit of calling every new wine “the best they’ve made.” They do heap such praise on this latest Merlot, and we couldn’t disagree. Four vineyards — Chan, Dwelley, Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills — and William VonMetzger’s barrel program create aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, cherries, chocolate, lavender and smoke. Chukar Cherry flavors, backed by black currant, caramel and tar combine for a yummy and opulent Merlot. While the tannins are bold, there’s plenty of fruit and acidity to provide support. (700 cases, 14.2% alc.) Outstanding! Walla Walla Vintners 2009 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $28. This winery deserves much of the credit for making Washington-grown Cabernet Franc so popular in the Northwest. A key to their success is their vineyard sources, which are Dwelley, Cordon Grove, Sagemoore and Weinbau. The nose is rich with blueberry, Marionberry, cherry, cracked black pepper, black olive and porcini mushroom earthiness. There’s even more richness found in the

flavors of dark cherry, vanilla bean, more pepper and chocolate lavender bar. The low oak, bright acidity and savory finish of tapenade brought thoughts of London broil or roasted pork. But the winemakers also suggest wild salmon grilled on cedar plank served with scalloped potatoes, heavy cream, Gruyere cheese and nutmeg. (750 cases, 14.2% alc.) Excellent. Walla Walla Vintners 2009 Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $24. Here marks the 11th vintage of Sangiovese made by Walla Walla Vintners, and their vineyard sources for the Sangio (80%) are Desert View, Dwelley and Kiona, backed by Syrah (12%) from Goose Ridge and Malbec from Dwelley. It brings aromas of pie cherry, black currant, epazote, graphite, tar and iron shavings. Flavors of dark fruit develop on the palate with dark plum, raspberry and smoky black cherry. There is plenty of structure as loganberry acidity laces the midpalate, yielding to a finish of gravelly tannins. Suggested pairings include eggplant Parmesan. (800 cases, 14.2% alc.) Excellent. Walla Walla Vintners 2009 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, $32. Myles Anderson and Gordy Venneri were at the forefront of bottling Cabernet Franc in the Northwest as a single variety, and they quickly embraced this Bordeaux. They have young winemaker William vonMetzger bottle two Malbecs — including this vineyard-designate. The nose carries hints of dusty Marionberry, black currant, cinnamon, beet juice and steak juice. Brambleberry flavors and acidity are followed by lots of licorice and horehound, sturdy tannins, lingering minerality and a gamy finish reminiscent of freshly butchered venison. (175 cases, 14.2% alc.) Excellent. Walla Walla Vintners 2008 Bello Rosso, Columbia Valley, $32. Cabernet Sauvignon from Sagemoor Vineyard is blended with Sangiovese (50%) from Desert View and Kiona vineyards to make a wine patterned after a Super Tuscan. The aromas hint at black currant, raspberry and Cherry Heering, backed by cocoa powder, white pepper, iron filings, mint, shoe leather and black tea. As a drink, it comes across with red currant, cranberry and lengthy cherry flavors, backed by more mint, moist earth, sturdy tannins and charming acidity. (250 cases, 14.5% alc.)

Wine ratings All wines reviewed here are tasted blind after being submitted by producers. They are rated Outstanding, Excellent and Recommended by a tasting panel. Outstanding: These wines have superior characteristics and should be highly sought after. Excellent: Top-notch wines with particularly high qualities.

Recommended: Delicious, well-made wines with true varietal characteristics. Best Buy: A wine that is $15 or less. Priced are suggested retail and should be used as guidelines. Prices are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

New releases we’ve tasted Cabernet Sauvignon Excellent. Grande Ronde Cellars 2005 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $30. One of the Northwest’s top vineyards, a superb vintage and winemaking that kept the alcohol in check resulted in a wine that’s aging quite nicely. Aromas of black currant, Bing cherry, vanilla, Earl Grey tea, black olive, earthiness and eucalyptus are matched on the balanced palate. (175 cases, 13% alc.)

Merlot Excellent. Grande Ronde Cellars 2006 Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $30. The fourman partnership that also runs Bridge Press Cellars began making wines for Grand Ronde Cellars in 1997 using fruit from Seven Hills Vineyard. Here’s a sturdy and stylish Merlot featuring aromas and flavors of black cherry, cassis and blueberry. It is accented by notes of anise and carmelized brown sugar. (225 cases, 14% alc.)

Cabernet Franc Excellent. Grande Ronde Cellars 2008 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, $25. Vineyard manager Dave Westfall is one of the four founders of this Spokane winery, which was launched in 1997, and Walla Walla Valley fruit has been a mainstay. This will appeal to “Francophile” fans, those who appreciate the tones of red currant, Van cherry, oregano and green bell pepper. The subdued barrel notes and sandy tannins give this lots of food applications, including lean meats. (150 cases, 13% alc.)

Malbec Outstanding! William Church Winery 2009 Philip's Vintage Gamache Vineyard Malbec, Columbia Valley, $30. Rod and Leslie Balsley recently opened an additional tasting room in Woodinville, this one in the Hollywood Schoolhouse District near Purple Cafe & Wine Bar. Their example of this Bordeaux variety is made with a fruit-forward approach that’s filled with intoxicating aromas of blueberry, boysenberry, plum, dried currant, fresh fig, chai and Jolly Rancher grape candy. Jammy and juicy blueberries and Marionberries ply their way onto the palate with opulence. There’s not much oak, very little tannin and pie cherry acidity. It’s polished off with hints of black olive and mocha espresso. (180 cases, 14.7% alc.)

Barbera Outstanding! Wind Rose Cellars 2009 Red Heaven Barbera, Red Mountain, $25. David Volmut graduated from Yakima Valley Community College’s winemaking program and trained at now-defunct

Olsen Estates in Prosser before opening his own winery last year in the town of Sequim on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The aromatics show off dark black fruit, Guatemalan cardamom, graphite, tar, smoky vanilla bean. Flavors bring Van cherries, blackberry, bittersweet chocolate, hints of leather, black tea and enjoyable acidity. Slice up some lasagna or pizza. (85 cases, 14.5% alc.)

Sangiovese Recommended. Desert Wind Winery 2008 Sacagawea Vineyard Sangiovese, Wahluke Slope, $18. Chocoate-covered cranberry, fig and mint tones carry spiciness from a year in American oak and bring along zesty acidity for this food-friendly wine from estate fruit. (488 cases, 14% alc.)

Red blends Excellent. Columbia Crest 2008 Walter Clore Private Reserve, Columbia Valley, $35. Perhaps the explosive popularity of Columbia Crest’s 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon — rated the world’s best wine in 2009 by to one publication — has impacted the approach to this program because its production is down more than half from the 2006 vintage. Merlot (57%) leads the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (32%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Malbec, and there’s beautiful oak influence to the nose. Floral notes of cinnamon, cedar, sweet leather, clover and lilac play out among aromas of deep black cherries, boysenberry and Verona chocolate. There’s elegance and refinement to the palate with sweet black cherries and cassis, plumminess on the midpalalate, and a finish of chocolate truffles, cherry-skin tannin and cedar. (1,800 cases, 14.5% alc.) Excellent. Daven Lore Winery 2009 Aridisol Red, Columbia Valley, $25. For this vintage, Prosser, Wash., winemaker Gord Taylor takes three Rhône varieties — Syrah (74%), Mourvèdre (26%) and Durif, aka Petite Sirah — and spins out a delicious drink that’s loaded with boysenberry, blackberry and cured meat tones. There’s a fair bit of barrel influence that gives off friendly hints of chocolate and cinnamon. In the finish are green peppercorns and flecks of minerality. Suggested pairings include baked pasta, quiche or a hunk of Manchego cheese. (64 cases, 14.8% alc.) Outstanding! Grande Ronde Cellars 2007 Cellar Red, Walla Walla Valley, $20. Spokane vintner John Mueller took over the winemaking after his brother — Mountain Dome’s Michael Manz — passed away in 2006. This blend of Bordeaux varieties includes Grand Vidure (30%), aka Carménère, and the drink is indeed a great tribute to the company’s founding

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

New releases we’ve tasted partner. The aromas lead with cassis, cherries, blackberry and chocolate, but there’s added complexity with scents of minerality, flannel, chalkboard dust and green peppercorns, which hint at the Carm. As a drink, its light-to-medium body should have broad appeal, bringing flavors of blueberry, blackberry, mint chocolate, lilac and horehound. Look for a piece of toffee in the finish. (400 cases, 13% alc.) Recommended. Grande Ronde Cellars 2005 Seven Hills Vineyard Charlotte's Cuvee, Walla Walla Valley, $40. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (67%), Cabernet Franc (18%) and Merlot shows in the nose abundant red cherry and red currant aromas with rose hips, lavender, lilac and cedar underpinnings. There’s pleasing balance to the palate with a structure of sweet plum, cherry and Baker’s chocolate, then some nice licorice notes in the finish. (150 cases, 13% alc.)

Pinot Gris Outstanding! Best Buy! Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2010 Pinot Gris, Washington, $11. One of the Northwest’s most consumer friendly wineries continues to be Mike Conway’s in Spokane. This Pinot Gris is approachable for many reasons, starting with aromas that are loaded with pear and backed by lime, lychee, almomd, Mister Lincoln rose and slatiness. It’s far from cloying at 0.5% residual sugar and flashes flavors of Asian pear, Granny Smith apple, white peach, tangerine pith and peach pit. Enjoy with white fish or pasta in cream sauce. (699 cases, 12% alc.)

Gewürztraminer Outstanding! Best Buy! Columbia Crest 2010 Two Vines Gewürztraminer, Washington, $8. When done well, few grape varieties shine as Gewürztraminer, and here’s a prime example. It shows classic aromas of yellow grapefruit, lychee, dusty apple and Meyer lemon. The flavorful blend of Texas pink grapefruit, green apple and more lemon gets a boost with a bit of spritzy acidity before a finish of Limeade. It’s a touch off-dry, making it very appealing for enjoying on a warm day or in a hot tub. (23,000 cases, 11.5% alc.)

Aligoté Recommended. Smasne Cellars 2010 Upland Vineyard Aligoté, Snipes Mountain, $18. A popular variety in Burgundy, it’s not widely planted in the Pacific Northwest, but the Newhouse family shows success growing it on their fascinating mountain in Yakima Valley. Robert Smasne crafts it in a bone-dry style and loads it up with accents of citrus, almond, banana bread, honeycomb and allspice. Enjoy it with

a cheese plate or sweet seafood such as sushi. (45 cases, 13.5% alc.)

Morio Muscat Excellent. Smasne Cellars 2010 Upland Vineyard Morio Muscat, Snipes Mountain, $18. German viticulturalist Peter Morio is credited with developing this by crossing Silvaner with Weissburgunder — aka Pinot Blanc — in the late 1920s. That would explain why this tasty wine does not exude the exotic aromas one would associate with Muscats. Instead, it’s subtle with its tropical theme of lychee, dried papaya, vanilla and hints of Carmex lip balm. Flavors feature green apple and lemon/lime, followed by a creamy midpalate akin to Carmex and crushed banana. There’s enjoyable dryness with a lengthy finish of orange peel. (37 cases, 13% alc.)

White blends Excellent. Best Buy! Farm Girl Wine 2010 Kaitlin Rayann White, Columbia Valley, $14. One of seven labels under the winemaking reign of Robert Smasne, this blend of Rhône varities is named after his daughter and leads with Roussanne (56%), followed by Viognier (39%) and Marsanne. There’s a nice theme of tropical aromas akin to orange and melon, but there’s also further complexity hinting at fresh-cut apple, pear, vanilla pudding, yellow cake and minerality. It’s dang tasty and rather dry with crisp and balanced flavors of Jonagold apple, creamy orange, white peach and lime. (650 cases, 13.5% alc.)

Rosés Recommended. Best Buy! Latah Creek Wine Cellars NV Huckleberry d'Latah, Washington, $10. A few folks in the Pacific Northwest incorporate huckleberry into their wine program, but no one is as devoted to its pursuit as Mike Conway in Spokane, Wash. He and his daughter Natalie use Riesling as the base, and it takes center stage with its tones of pear, apple pie, petrol and minerality. The influence of huckleberry stays in the background, and the residual sugar (2.5%) is whisked clean by lime and orange acidity. (6,000 cases, 10.5% alc.) Excellent. Best Buy! Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2010 Spokane Blush of Sangiovese, Wahluke Slope, $9. You’d be mistaken to size up this rosé from Talcott Vineyards just by looking at its bright pinkish color and taking in the aromas of Juicy Fruit gum, strawberry fruit leather, pink grapefruit and banana peel. The drink provides a delightful surprise with its serious approach from red currant, sour cherry and cranberry flavors. Indeed, the residual sugar sits at just 0.5% and the pink grapefruit acidity easily balances that out into a finish of white strawberry,

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

New releases we’ve tasted white peach and apricot. Enjoy with seared ahi tuni. (536 cases, 10.5% alc.)

Fruit wines Outstanding! Best Buy! Latah Creek Wine Cellars NV Maywine, Washington, $9. This traditional German-style wine has a significant following around Spokane, Wash., thanks to Mike Conway. The longtime Washington winemaker takes Chenin Blanc then adds woodruff and strawberry concentrate to create a fun drink that pairs marvelously with holiday fare and curries. Its nose brings hints of sweet strawberry jam, apricot, banana, honey, patchuli and honey. Flavors include strawberry, raspberry, lemon chiffon, pineapple and clover. Granted, there’s considerable sugar (6%), yet its acid profile is reminiscent of an orange milkshake and enough to create balance. In Germany, it’s often unveiled on May Day — hence the name. (1573 cases, 10.5% alc.)

Recommended. Finnriver Farm & Cidery 2011 Spirited Apple Wine with Apple Brandy, Washington, $25. This young, multi-family farming operation near Chimacum on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula focuses on organic products, and fermentation of this apple wine was halted at a semisweet level by the addition of apple brandy. Its big aromas and flavors feature sweet apple and pear notes with crushed hazelnuts, and the ethanolic stamp of the brandy maybe overwhelming for some. Look for Finnriver products at the Ballard Farmers Market and the pilot project at the West Seattle farmers market. (150 cases, 18.5% alc.)

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

Northwest wine regions Multi-state appellations Columbia Valley: This multi-state appellation is 11 million acres in size and takes up a third of Washington. Established in 1984. Columbia Gorge: This multi-state appellation begins around the town of Lyle and heads west to Husum on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It was established in 2004. Walla Walla Valley: Walla Walla Valley: This multi-state appellation is in the southeast corner of Washington and around Milton-Freewater, Ore. Established in 1984. Snake River Valley: This is in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. It covers 8,263 square miles and was established in 2007.

Washington Yakima Valley: The Northwest’s oldest appellation (established in 1983) stretches past Wapato in the west to Benton City in the east and includes Red Mountain, Rattlesnake Hills and Snipes Mountain. Red Mountain: Washington’s smallest appellation is a ridge in the eastern Yakima Valley. It is 4,040 acres in size. Established in 2001. Horse Heaven Hills: This large appellation — 570,000 acres — is south of the Yakima Valley and stretches to the Oregon border. It was established in 2005. Wahluke Slope: Approved in early 2006, this huge landform north of the Yakima Valley is an 81,000-acre gravel bar created by the Ice Age Floods. It is one of the warmest regions in the entire Pacific Northwest. Established in 2006. Rattlesnake Hills: This appellation is in the western Yakima Valley north of the towns of Zillah, Granger and Outlook. The appellation is 68,500 acres in size with about 1,300 acres of vineyards. It was established in 2006. Puget Sound: This sprawling appellation is in Western Washington. It stretches from the Olympia area to the Canadian border north of Bellingham. It also sweeps through the San Juan Islands and to Port Angeles. Established in 1995. Snipes Mountain: This is one of Washington’s oldest wine-growing regions. At 4,145 acres in size, it is the state’s second-smallest AVA. Grapes have been grown on Snipes Mountain and at the adjacent Harrison Hill (also part of the AVA) since 1914. This AVAwas approved in 2009. Lake Chelan: This area in north-central Washington is almost entirely within the Columbia Valley. It is a young area, with the oldest vines dating to 1998. About 250 acres are planted here. It was approved in 2009. Naches Heights: Approved in 2011, this area near the city of Yakima has fewer than 50 acres of grapes planted.

Ribbon Ridge: This is the Northwest’s smallest appellation at 3,350 acres. It is best known for its Pinot Noir and is within the Chehalem Mountains AVA. It was established in 2005. Yamhill-Carlton: This is a horseshoe-shaped appellation that surrounds the towns of Yamhill and Carlton. It was established in 2005. The “District” was dropped in 2011. Chehalem Mountains: This is the largest within the Willamette Valley. This 62,100-acre appellation is northeast of the Dundee Hills. It was established in 2006. Dundee Hills: Many of Oregon’s pioneer wineries are in the Dundee Hills within Oregon’s Yamhill County. The appellation is 6,490 acres in size. It was established in 2005. Eola-Amity Hills: This important region stretches from the town of Amity in the north to the capital city of Salem in the southeast. It is 37,900 acres in size. It was established in 2006. McMinnville: The hills south and west of the Yamhill County city of McMinnville are more than 40,000 acres in size. It was established in 2005. Umpqua Valley: This Southern Oregon appellation surrounds the city of Roseburg north of the Rogue Valley. It can produce Pinot Noir as well as warm-climate grapes. It was established in 1984. Rogue Valley: The Northwest’s southern-most appellation surrounds the cities of Medford and Ashland, just north of the California border. It is known for its warm growing conditions. Established in 2001. Applegate Valley: This small valley within the Rogue Valley is known for a multitude of microclimates that can result in wines of distinction and complexity. Established in 2004. Southern Oregon: This AVA encompasses the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate valleys and Red Hill Douglas County. It was established in 2005. Red Hill Douglas County: This tiny appellation — just 5,500 acres — is within the Umpqua Valley. Fewer than 200 acres of wine grapes, primarily Pinot Noir, are grown here. Established in 2005.

British Columbia

Okanagan Valley: In the province’s interior, this 100mile valley stretches from the border in Osoyoos to Salmon Arm in the north. Most wineries are near Oliver, Penticton and Kelowna. It was established in 1990. Similkameen Valley: This warm valley is west of the southern Okanagan Valley. It was established in 1990. Vancouver Island: This marine-influenced appellation is in the southwest part of the province. Established in 1990. Fraser Valley: This farming area is in the Lower Mainland, south of Vancouver. Established in 1990. Gulf Islands: This appellation includes approximately Oregon Willamette Valley: Oregon’s largest appellation stretches 100 islands spread out between Vancouver Island and the southern mainland. Established in 2005. roughly from Portland to Eugene. Established in 1984.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


FRESHPRESS Jan. 16, 2012

About us Wine Press Northwest is a quarterly consumer magazine that focuses on the wine regions of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. Annual subscriptions are $20. Click to subscribe. Editor-in-chief: Andy Perdue editor@winepressnw.com Managing editor: Eric Degerman edegerman@winepressnw.com Advertising inquiries: Parker Hodge phodge@tricityherald.com © 2011

Tasting methods Recent Releases are evaluated under strict conditions to ensure objectivity. Northwest wineries submit wines to Wine Press Northwest for evaluation by Wine Press Northwest’s tasting panel. After wines are received, they are stored for at least two weeks and a third party serves them “blind,” meaning the tasting panelists do not know the producer. In addition, the panelists are served glasses of wine and are not able to view the bottles or their shapes prior to tasting. Wines are stored in temperature-controlled conditions, allowing them to be served at perfect cellar temperatures. Price is not a consideration in these evaluations, nor is a winery’s advertising activity with Wine Press Northwest, as the magazine’s editorial/wine evaluation activities and advertising/ marketing efforts are kept strictly separate. The panel has a combination of technical and consumer palates. If at least three of the four panelists consider a wine technically sound and commercially acceptable, it is included here as “Recommended.” The panel may also vote the wine as “Excellent” or “Outstanding,” our top rating. Wines considered

unacceptable by the panel are rejected and not included. Reviews are grouped by variety or style and listed alphabetically by winery. Prices listed are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated. To ensure we maintain an international perspective, our tasting panelists judge thousands of wines annually at various competitions, including: Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition, Riverside International Wine Competition, Dallas Morning News Wine Competition, Indy International Wine Competition, Virginia Governor’s Cup, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Grand Harvest Awards, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru, Washington State Wine Competition, Seattle Wine Awards, Northwest Wine Summit, British Columbia Wine Awards, New York Wine and Grape Foundation Competition, Tri-Cities Wine Festival, Capital Food & Wine Fest, North Central Washington Wine Awards and Idaho Wine Competition.

A weekly publication of Wine Press Northwest • Vol. 2, No. 3 • © 2012


Fresh Press for Jan. 16, 2012