Washington Wine Club – December 2012

2007 Corliss Estates, Columbia Valley Red Wine
This is the fourth 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 2007 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 the most approachable Corliss Red we’ve seen upon release, as 2007 was an ideal year, with a very warm summer followed by a cool fall. This allowed the grapes to hang on the vine for an extended period, continuing to build flavor and complexity without the accumulation of excess sugar. It could still very easily age for another 10 years or so. It is $65 and very limited, since most of the 575 cases produced are sold to the Corliss mailing list. We also have a few scattered bottles of older Corliss wines, as well as a small allocation of the lovely 2007 Corliss Cabernet, sourced mostly from older vine blocks at Dionysus Vineyard, at $75.

2009 Couvillion, Sagemoor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Sad to say, this is going to be the last wine we’ll see from Jill Noble’s Couvillion Winery in Walla Walla. Jill was in the first class of the enology program at Walla Walla Community College and then trained with John Abbott of Abeja and Marie-Eve Gilla of Forgeron. We have really enjoyed her wines, and have put past Cabernets, Merlots, and blends in this club. Unfortunately, after seven years of not making any profit at all for her hard work, she and her husband decided to sell off all their equipment and close their winery. She might decide to continue as a winemaker for others or she might go back to nursing, her first career. Like others who have reached the same point (Tim Sampson of Yellow Hawk Cellars comes to mind), Jill will definitely be missed.

So we are very proud to put this last Cabernet in our club, sourced entirely from the iconic Dionysus Vineyard. Jill credits the use of used French oak barrels for the velvety smooth mouth feel of all her wines, and that certainly applies to the this Cabernet. It displays wonderful aromas of berries, plums, and Bing cherry, with notes of dark chocolate and spice on the palate. Try it with grilled flank steak topped with blue cheese. Ready to drink now, it’s a great value at only $25.