Avalon Staff writer and indefatigable Walla Walla
wine tour-er- Without her energy and organization, we would never
have gotten around to all the wineries! Thanks Christina!
to Drink and Enjoy!
get those hot Walla Walla wines outa my mind.....
could be a song, eh?
Walla area wines are full bodied, complex, round,
deeply colored and bountiously flavored wines that
BIG REDS lovers will immediately enjoy.
back from Walla Walla two weeks ago, but I still keep thinking about
those wines and wineries we visited. Maybe the 100 degree heat here
reminds me of the 110 degree heat there? Whatever the reason, some of
the wines were so memorable, I wanted to list them here and let you
know what's really drinking well right now....
And of course, try to sell you a few,
gotta keep the store going!
Gordon Venneri and
2000 Merlot $26.99
Just a lush, plush, affordable intense wine, very viscous and mouthwatering,
big but balanced tannins and a very true- to-the-grape flavor. Nothing
is hidden or disguised here, just wonderful NW flavor and that nice
deep, leather, chocolate, coffee finish. Have with steak on the grill,
grilled lamb chops, spicy meats.
We were very impressed with their wines, and interestingly, they seem
to be a local Walla Walla fav too, with lots of residents stocking up
on the guys' little known reds. Almost all of their wines are sold locally-
keeping the best for themselves?
1999 Cabernet Sauvignon $37.50
There's been some wonderful reviews of this wine, and with good reason.
We are fortunate to still have a little in stock.
says: " Firm and nicely focused, shining its blackberry and currant
flavors through a broad frame, echoing with hints of pepper and dark
chocolate on the round finish. Drink now through 2006. 724 cases made.
(HS)"Rating 89 points.
Also found the
Walla Walla Vintner's Sangiovese 2000 and 99 Cab Franc to be lovely--
everything we tried from them was delicious and reasonably priced.
and our staff writer Christina Kelly in the
L'Ecole tasting room
L'Ecole #41 Voila Walla! $12.99
What a delicious and affordable summer sipper! Normally
only sold at the tasting room, where it compliments the intense heat
perfectly, this Chenin blanc is reminiscent of a good Vouvray at a really
reasonable price. Vibrantly fruity, with enough citrus and acid to keep
it light and refreshing, while the mouth feel is rich and viscous, with
flavors of apricot and orange blossom. There's hints of pink grapefruit,
passion fruit, and apple. A superb summer sipper.
CALL TO ORDER
Very very limited, the last vintage received 93 points in Wine Spectator
and was one of the fastest wines to sell out in our shop. Only 200 some
cases made, this wine is a selection for our BIG REDS CLUB.
The wine is one of the best examples of American Syrah today. It is
dark, intensely opulent, and much more complex that most New World Syrahs.
The nose is redolent of black cherry, bittersweet chocolate, and briar.
The flavors are hedonistic, with grilled meat, char, vanilla, cocoa,
pepper, and intense dried cherry in the blend. The finish is long and
Cabernet Sauvignon 99
Wine Spectator rating 91 points
Rich, with ripe plum, cassis, and berry flavors, hints of cinnamon,
nutmeg, and exotic spices, that wonderful dark, huge NW finish, and
layers and layers of chocoate and coffee and leather on the finish.
We were so impressed with the deep, rich flavors of this wine, it just
When we tried this Merlot at the Washington Wine Commision trade tasting,
Ann said "this is for Leonetti fans who can't get Leonetti!"
With vineyards located next door to Leonetti's, this Merlot is strongly
reminiscent of Figgin's famous wine. With a price tag 1/3 of the Leonetti,
this wine is well worth a try. We retasted in Walla Walla last month
and it was drinking even better. Very very good value.
Spring Valley Winery
Wine Spectator rating 91 points for 99 vintage
liked the 2000 even better than the 99. The family has been in the Walla
Walla Valley since the 1870's, and Uriah (shown on the label) was the
first settler. The family is in the enviable position of owning their
vineyards, and are able to carefully control the quality of the fruit.
Read more about them here.
The wine is a blend of 60% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc
& 6% Petit Verdot. This wine has it all but the grilled steak. A
most elegant wine, the nose gives plenty of sweet fruit, floral notes
and even a hint of cotton candy. As it swirls in your mouth, look for
earthy mineral qualities, big black cherry, a hint of mint and a touch
More Walla Walla Wonders next time!
Flash: Bacchus, God of Wine,
gives Exclusive Interview to Avalon
Interview by Cole Danehower
the Roman God of Wine, recently visited Portland as part of his 2002
World Vineyards Tour. He took a few moments out of his schedule to talk
with us about the changing role of viticultural divinity in modern society
Q: Mr. Bacchus what's it like being the God of Wine in the 21st
A. Well I'll tell you Cole-may I call you Cole?-its no picnic
anymore! Time was when folks held revelries in my honor two, maybe three
times a day-those Romans, boy could they party!-but now . . . now I
can barely get the average Joe or Jane winemaker to acknowledge my existence.
This God of Wine gig just doesn't go as far as it used to.
Q. Why do you think things have changed so much?
Westrey take on Gantenbein & Dr. Loosen
July 25th, Benson Hotel, Portland OR
call 503-646-2985 to order a ticket!
And please tell then we sent you!
World and New World collide headlong at the Steiger Haus in
McMinnville for a no-holds-barred, tag-team food and wine extravaganza.
In the New World corner will be Jimi Brooks, creator of knock-out wines
like Brooks Riesling and Janus Pinot Noir. Hes teamed up with
the dynamic Westrey duo, David Autrey and Amy Wesselman, with their
body-slamming Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. From the Old World, two IPNC
newcomers: Daniel Big G Gantenbein, whos been knocking
them dead in Switzerland for years; and the unstoppable Ernie Hair
Doktor Loosen, fresh from his triumph in the German Riesling Rumble
(2001 Winemaker of the Year). Chef Serge Selbe, formerly of Fish Tales
and now executive sous chef at the Benson Hotel, will set the stage
with a ravishing feast to accompany the wines. $125 per person.
2nd Annual IPNC
Thursday July 25, 2002
At Winters Hill Winery
Call 503-864-4610 to order a ticket
drawn wagons will again take you to Winter's Hill Vineyard from the
Wine Country B&B, traveling across open fields with spectacular
views along the way. We'll have appetizers with wine served under towering
firs at the edge of the vineyard before returning by wagon to have dinner
on the beautiful grounds of the B&B. [For you veterans of last year's
fest, the horses this year are working horses, guaranteed to pull!]
Chef John Gorham of the Tuscany Grill, one of Portland's finest restaurants,
will be our host. Chef Gorham will roast a whole organically raised
pig from Laughing Stock Farms and prepare a wonderful dinner with a
wide selections of organic Oregon foods. Eola Hills Wine Cellars will
be represented by Steve Anderson, their talented winemaker, who has
been making wine for more than 20 years. Peter and Emily Gladhart of
Winter's Hill Vineyard, Joan Davenport of Wine Country Farm, John Gorham
and Steve invite you to join us for a relaxing evening in the wine country.
Don't miss this very special evening! $80 per person
- call the winery to make reservations: 503-864-4610.
We Can't Believe
are Still Available
economy is slow,
people are drinking their cellars
rather than buying new wines,
whatever the reason, there are
a number of hard to get
trophy wines still available.
Here's the ones we think are worth
the money and cellaring time:
Sorella- Meritage Blend
92-94 points Robert Parker
"A wine of gorgeous definition"
Our favorite of winemaker Chris Camarda's wines, The
99 Sorella is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 15% Cab Franc.
The wine carries a mark of fullness and a complex palate arising from
the blending of the different varieties. Drink 2005-2012.
Pinot Noir 99
94 points in Wine Spectator
#60 in Top 100 Wines of the World 2001
Wine Spectator says: "Bright, supple and open-textured,
offering disarmingly pure currant and blackberry flavors that linger
elegantly on the extra-long finish. Not a blockbuster; it's just yummy
and refined. Tannins aren't intrusive, making this tempting to drink
already. Drink now through 2009. 3,100 cases made.
We say- we can't believe we still have
some of this- it is such a wonderfully priced wine for cellaring. This
will be the gem you pull out in 5 or 6 years and show your friends what
Oregon Pinot noir is all about! But it is drinking incredibly well now
if you want to indulge.
Pinot Noir 99
Parker 93 points!
Parker says: "... he will produce some of
the most compelling Pinots on Earth. Drink this wine over the next
10 years." This is a beautiful, beautiful wine, subtle, complex,
nervy, yet relatively big. Very French in style, will benefit from cellaring
Wine Spectator 91 points!
of Cabernet and Merlot, this wine has dark brooding fruit flavors and
beautiful aromas of coffee, spice with a whiff of violet. The wine shows
solid prune and black currant flavors at the core, shaded by hints of
chocolate and toast. The density of fruit, extract, and structure enables
this wine to be the best enjoyed after a few years in the cellar. Cellar
Grace Vineyard 99
Wine Spectator 92 points
Parker 90 points
The black cherry and fresh herb-scented 1999 Pinot Noir
Grace Vineyard has an opulent, lush, medium to full-bodied character.
This feminine, silky-textured wine is loaded with soft, sweet cherries,
raspberries, and strawberries. This seamless wine has outstanding focus,
depth of fruit, and harmony. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2012.
Pinot Noir Reserve 99
points Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator says: "Bright and juicy, with fine-grained
tannins around lively currant, raspberry and plum flavors, shaded with
floral notes. Rife with acidity, but the intense flavors explode on
the finish, suggesting this just needs a bit of cellaring to settle
down. Best from 2003 through 2007." 92 Points. Harvey Steiman.
What do you think are the best trophy
wines of the last vintage? Email us and we'll see if there's still some
This is the first of
what looks to be an ongoing source for Oregon viticultural info- check
it out! We'll post links to each new issue here and on oregon-wine.com
with $500 order
comes with foil cutter and
through July 31 2002
Order for regular priced
in stock wines only
Mention ad with order
to receive free merchandise
Cannot be combined with other coupons
started a new website with information for winemakers, grape growers
and people interested in the Oregon wine industry.
Check it out-