Washington Wine Club – May 2023

2020 Guardian Cellars, Gun Metal, $45

Winery info: By now, Washington Club members should be quite familiar with the story of Guardian Cellars.       

After volunteering for a number of years at several Woodinville wineries, including Matthews, Mark Ryan, and Baer, Jerry Riener eventually began crafting his own wines. He officially launched Guardian Cellars in 2007, all while keeping his day job as a cop. Since then he has become a highly acclaimed winemaker, and producer of some of our most popular wines. Gun Metal is his flagship Bordeaux blend and this is the ninth time we’ve featured this wine in our Washington Club.

Winemaker: Jerry Riener

Grapes: 52% Cab Sauv, 43% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, aged 22 months in 73% new French oak.

Vineyard: The Gun Metal has always focused on fruit from Conner Lee Vineyard, planted in the early 1980s, on the upper east end of the Wahluke Slope AVA. It is a cool site in a relatively warm region, allowing for long, even ripening of the fruit, producing wines with great texture and complexity.

Flavor profile: While it has underlying power and intensity, it is a smooth, elegant wine, with flavors of black currant and dark cherry, and nice notes of herbs and baking spice. The silky tannins are well integrated and the finish is long and lingering. Another stunning vintage of Gun Metal!

Availability: 600 cases produced. This vintage was just released so it should be around for a while.

Drinking Window: It is drinking well now, but it will continue to develop for another three to five years.

Food pairing: The Gun Metal is always a fabulous wine for steak or other meaty fare.

2020 Aria Wines, Walla Walla Valley Syrah, $35

Winery info: This wine is made by Hugh Remash, who founded Eagle Harbor Wine Company on Bainbridge Island in 2005 with the goal of crafting artisanal, Old World-style wines. Eagle Harbor wines are now made by his former assistant winemaker, Emily Parsons, who purchased the winery and took over operations in 2014, with Hugh staying on as consulting winemaker. Hugh sources fruit for this wine, a special side project, from an acre of Syrah in Stone Valley Vineyard in the Rocks District that he purchased in partnership with Aria Vineyards. The vineyard is managed by Tom Waliser who, along with Christophe Baron of Cayuse, was among the first to plant wine grapes in the now highly coveted Rocks region. Tom crops their plot according to Hugh’s specifications for this wine.

Winemaker: Hugh Remash

Grapes: 100% Syrah

Vineyard: Stone Valley Vineyard in the Rocks District of Milton Freewater, orginally planted in 2002 on an ancient riverbed with basalt cobblestone soil.

Flavor profile: A very soft and accessible wine, with nice richness, good minerality, and a perfectly balanced note of the inviting Rocks “funk” that wines from that unique site are known for. It’s an amazing value for a well-made Rocks District Syrah!

Availability: 75 cases made. It has just been released so it is still in decent supply.

Drinking Window: Enjoy now, or anytime over the next few years.

Food Pairing: Hugh suggests grilled lamb, game birds, grilled eggplant, or mushroom dishes. Or with herbed roast chicken or pâté.