garrison creek cellars

Monday, May 03, 2010

It’s a travel day for me so this will be brief, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to give a shout out to all the wineries who so graciously and generously opened their doors this Spring Release Weekend in Walla Walla.

Since I live nearby, I have the opportunity to enjoy this annual rite of spring, although most of the time I prefer to visit wineries on quieter days so as to have a better opportunity to interview and taste. But it’s fun to show friends around and just be a tourist myself, as I was this past weekend.

Too many highlights to list, but the last stop was certainly as memorable as any.
Garrison Creek Cellars is a small, off-the-radar project of a very successful Walla Walla native named Michael Murr. Murr lives on the east coast and was not on site this weekend, but his friend Dave March, who serves as winemaker and manager to this unique property, toured us around with his gracious and charming staff.

As you can see in the photo, Garrison Creek is headquartered in a grand barn. Though the structure is new, it takes its design from a 100 year old barn a few miles away, and a picture of the original hangs in the tasting room.

The barn/winery sits in the midst of the Les Collines vineyard, and the limited-production estate-only wines source those grapes exclusively. They are given several more years in barrel and bottle prior to release than any winery other than Corliss, and benefit from that softening influence. They are sold through the mailing list and available at a few Puget Sound shops and restaurants, distributed by Pacific Rim.

Tours of the winery are open by appointment and highly recommended. We tasted through some barrels and then the new releases, which include a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2005 ‘Block 19’ Syrah, and a 2006 Zinfandel. The winemaking is sophisticated and achieves an elegant expression of subdued power. There is plenty of good new wood applied, but with extra years of aging it is nicely polished and somewhat muted. The fruit, as you would imagine, is the best that this excellent vineyard has to offer.

Special events are scheduled from time to time, but wines sell out rather quickly as the production of everything is under 1000 cases. This is an appointment you will certainly want to make on your next trip over – it’s one of the region’s hidden jewels.


Plymale said...

Hopefully the chicory between the rows up there at Les Collines kept the dust (ie, soil) in place today!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul, I look forward to trying them next time I am in Wall Walla.


Anonymous said...

We were given a bottle of Garrison Creek Cellars Caberent Savuvignon 2005 as a gift. As a result of drinking this great tasting wine. We were interested in more information on this winery and their wine. Unfortunately their web site is not quite ready and under construction, but we will definitely will be watching and searching for their products. We would highly recommend this wine.
L & J of Vancouver BC Canada

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