Washington Wine Club – December 2011

2006 Corliss Estates, Columbia Valley Red Wine
This is the third consecutive vintage of this wine we’ve put in the club, and by now most club members are familiar with the Corliss story. Corliss Estates 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. With abundant financial resources available, their goal is to produce wines that can age at least 10 to 20 years and that can eventually compete with Quilceda Creek as the top Bordeaux-based blend in Washington. The 2006 Red Wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, and is sourced from top Washington vineyards, including Stillwater Creek, Weinbau, Bacchus, Stonetree and a few on Red Mountain. Three quarters of the wine is aged in new French oak for an amazing 33 months. Very aromatic, it is full-bodied, smooth, lush, intense, spicy, and concentrated. This year’s version is more approachable than previous years, as the tannins are a bit more fleshy and the mid-palate fruit definitely more pronounced. It could still very easily age for another 15 years. It is $65 and very limited. We still have a few bottles left of the 2005 Red Wine, as well as a bit of the even more limited 2005 and 2006 Corliss Cabernets, sourced mostly from Dionysos vineyard, at $75.

2010 Saviah Cellars, Star Meadows, Columbia Valley White Wine
After neglecting Rich Funk in this club for a while, we are very happy to put in a wine from Saviah Cellars for two months in a row. The Star Meadows is his delicious white Bordeaux blend, which is named for his ancestral valley homestead in Montana. The grapes come from two Wahluke Slope vineyards known for these varietals: the Sauvignon Blanc from Stillwater Creek and the Semillon from Rosebud Vineyards. The wine features bracing aromas of orange blossoms, apricot, and white peach, and is fresh and crisp on the palate. The lees aging provides it with a rich texture and full mouth-feel. It would make an excellent aperitif for the holiday season or a good match with yet another Montana specialty, fresh trout. It costs only $19.75 (half the price of DeLille’s comparable Chaleur Estate Blanc), is ready to drink, and in good supply.