2004 Corliss Estates, Columbia Valley Red Wine
For a winery that has been officially open only about a year and a half, Corliss Estates has received an incredible amount of acclaim, including being named “Northwest Winery of the Year” by Seattle Magazine. It was founded in 2001 in an old bakery in downtown Walla Walla by a couple of Seattle real estate developers, Michael Corliss and Lauri Darneille, at the height of the wine boom there. After a fitful start (they discarded all the wine they made from the 2001 and 2002 vintages) they got on track when they hired veteran winemaker and Canoe Ridge alum Kendall Mix. With abundant financial resources available, their goal is to produce wines that can age at least 10 -– 20 years. Paul Gregutt has noted on his blog their incredible attention to detail, including hand sorting, no pumping, and very gentle fermentation procedures. With no need to rush the wines to market, the reds are not released until five years after harvest. The result? This red, their flagship blend of all five Bordeaux varietals, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, is an impressive combination of restrained elegance and muscular power. While drinking beautifully now, it will definitely benefit from another three to five years in your cellar. It is $65 and very limited, as only 225 cases were made. Corliss wines are at this time sold mostly through their mailing list and in only a handful of Seattle wine shops, so we are grateful to our good friend Lars Ryssdal from Corliss for getting us the wine.
2009 Darby Winery, Le Deuce
Over the years, we have put only a handful of white wines in this club, but this is surely one of the best. West Seattle resident Darby English launched his Woodinville winery with the 2005 vintage, and he made an immediate impact with a Viognier-Rousanne blend that was ahead of its time. Every year this blend has gotten better and better, and this one’s the best yet. Darby gets his grapes from limited-yield vineyards, and he practices low intervention techniques in his winemaking. The wine is vibrant and well-blended, with the flowery nose of the Viognier carefully balanced with the natural buttery aroma of the Roussanne. The palate shows lots of tropical fruit tones featuring pineapple and banana, but the consistency of the acid keeps the wine from the flabbiness seen in so many New World Viogniers. Best of all, it costs just $21, and will be available for at least a month or so. Try it with Thai food or something spicy.