may update on waitsburg cellars wines

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Waitsburg Cellars wine project has passed some important milestones recently. Most importantly, the wines are out. Four whites, one red, as profiled here on the blog last March.

I’ve sampled them repeatedly, and worked the market in Walla Walla, Waitsburg and Dayton, with excellent results. What is especially gratifying is that every one of the wines is somebody’s favorite. There is no single clear winner.

That said, I’ve had some good feedback from consumers, retailers, and reviewers. The wines are now being shown to the trade in western Washington, and trickling into wine shops, wine departments and restaurants there. Soon I hope to be able to point you to an e-commerce site, so the wines may be ordered online.

Reviews from the Hosemaster, Rand Sealey, the Pour Fool and others have been terrifically positive. The wines will be profiled in an upcoming issue of Seattle magazine, and other national reviews are in the works.

As I have written before, this is a huge learning process for me, and very exciting at that. I’ve pulled a few arrows out of my back, but I guess that goes with the territory.

My personal take on the five wines is this:

Waitsburg Cellars 2012 Cheninières – this is one of the two Chenin Blancs. Here the model is Savennières, meaning its finished to absolute dryness, and kept at the lowest possible alcohol (12.6%). In my view this brings out the nuances that these old vines (40+ years) from the Upland vineyard can provide. The wine is tart, herbal, spicy, aromatic, and shows excellent length. A perfect oyster wine more than one person has commented. ($17 full retail)

Waitsburg Cellars 2012 Chevray – also old vine Upland Chenin Blanc, modeled after Vouvray. Residual sugar is just above perceptible, but the ripeness of the fruit rounds out the palate and pops up the alcohol a couple of notches. This wine is the easiest to enjoy right out of the bottle, no airing required. It jumps up and grabs you by the nose, then leads you to the land of flowers and lovely fruits. ($17 full retail)

Waitsburg Cellars 2012 Pinot Gris – from the oldest block of Pinot Gris at Willow Crest, this has rung the bell for more than one reviewer. It’s done in a bright, fruity, yet complex style that will nicely accompany a broad range of summer salads and seafood. ($15 full retail)

Waitsburg Cellars 2012 Riesling – also old vine, from a Yakima valley vineyard, this wine was the favorite of the Hosemaster, and it is one of the wines in this portfolio that I expect to have a long life. I left a ¾ consumed bottle out on the counter a few weeks ago and came back to it two days later. Damn if it wasn’t better than when first opened. Supremely aromatic, complex and detailed, it’s no surprise that Washington can make great Riesling, but I believe this competes with the best of them. ($15 full retail)

Waitsburg Cellars 2011 Three Red – this proprietary blend of Merlot, Malbec and Mourvèdre launched the project, and may be considered the flagship wine. I’ve tasted it at least two dozen times, and each time it surprises me. It’s a sleek, tart, aromatic red wine, very young and a bit backward. It is always better after a minimum of 6 hours breathing, and often after 12 – 24. I take that as an indication that it will also age quite nicely. Here again, the goal is to capture details that are lost when wines spend too much time in too much new oak, or alcohol levels are pushed too high. I love aromatics and nuanced flavors, and that is what is built into Three. ($25 full retail)

There is a Waitsburg Cellars fan page on Facebook that lists current retail outlets. If you live in western Washington, please ask your vendor to order it for you from the distributor, Cavatappi. I will be working the Seattle market next week and look forward to pouring these wines for you!

Waitsburg Cellars


Ben said...

Looking forward to trying them Paul. For the Three Red are letting sit in a decanter for 12 to 24 hours or in the bottle?

PaulG said...

Ben, I wouldn't decant for that long - maybe 3-4 hours in a decanter. In the bottle, 6 hours is good, and it will drink well for the next 24 - 36 hours.

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