2009 Tero Estates, Windrow Vineyard Blend
Over the years, Seattle Times wine writer Paul Gregutt has been a pretty good judge of Washington wineries that would do well in our shop. We owe our acquaintance with Animale, Boudreaux, Lost River, and many others to his urging the winemakers to pay us a visit. So, when Paul urged Doug Roskelley of Tero Estates to visit us with his inaugural releases in 2010, we were prepared to be impressed. And we were! In 2006, Doug and some partners were able to buy Windrow, one of the oldest vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley AVA, on the Oregon side of the border near Milton Freewater. The vineyard was part of the original Seven Hills Vineyard, first planted in 1981, and has provided fruit for many of the top Walla Walla producers, including Leonetti, L’Ecole, and Walla Walla Vintners. This wine is a classic Bordeaux style field blend, well-balanced, with layers of minerals, spice, and earth. Very aromatic, it features striking notes of red fruits like cherry and cranberry. It was aged for two years in new 500 liter French oak puncheons, which allowed a nice integration of oak accents without overpowering the fruit. The wine has some serious aging potential, perhaps up to ten years, although it’s already drinking very well. It is $45, will go well with any serious meal, and is still in somewhat decent supply.
2008 McCrea, Cuvée Orleans, Yakima Valley Syrah
As most of you know, Doug McCrea is the undisputed pioneer of Rhône varietals in Washington State. McCrea Cellars produces some the best Rhône varietals and blends around and we love having them in the shop, though they never last long. Doug makes this reserve Syrah as a tribute to his birthplace, New Orleans. The fruit comes from some of the top vineyards in the state: Dick Boushey’s Grande Côte Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, Jim Holmes’ Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain, and Joe Hattrup’s high altitude Elephant Mountain Vineyard. It has a touch of Viognier in the style of Côte Rôtie, in the Northern Rhône, and is thus both more perfumed and spicier than you usually find in Washington Syrah. It was just released in November, so we recommend holding it for a year or so, and then pairing it with beef, lamb, or hearty vegetarian fare. Due to the economy, the price has come down quite a bit to $39.75, and we can definitely get more.