spotlight on beresan

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Wine writers love to make discoveries, and once a promising new winery has been unearthed, praised, and publicized, most of us want to track its progress to see how it fares. I first tasted the wines of Beresan back in 2004, when the 2002 vintage was being released. I was instantly smitten with the quality, the value, and the expression of estate-grown fruit from one of – if not the – oldest vineyards in the region known as the Rocks.

I’ve visited the winery and tasted the wines frequently since, and more often than not I have felt that grower Tom Waliser and winemaker Tom Glase hit the bulls-eye with the wines. But everyone stumbles now and again, and a couple of years ago, though there were definite highlights (the 2006 TomFoolery Reserve in particular), the lineup overall seemed a bit lacklustre.

Last week I tasted new releases for the first time since, and found Beresan back in fine form across the board. These are releases from last winter and this past spring, but the vintages drift all the way back to 2008. No matter, the older wines are in their prime, and good to enjoy while the younger vintages grab a few more years in bottle. Prices, as always, are generously low for the quality.

Beresan 2012 deVine White Blend; $16
This intriguing blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Semillon comes from a trio of excellent Walla Walla vineyards. Fresh grapefruit, pineapple and peach notes swirl together, framed by light almond.

Beresan 2010 Carmenère; $29
I’m no fan of this grape, from Washington or anywhere, but once in awhile a really good one comes along, few better than this. A tight spine of fresh herb leads through a dry, tannic red with dried berry flavors and espresso livening up the finish.

Beresan 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon; $29
Maturing pomegranate and cherry fruit flavors combine in this elegant wine. Firm acidity underpins its deep veins of fruit, and it finishes with a gentle hint of mocha and caramel.

Beresan 2008 Malbec; $29
This outstanding 100% Malbec is sourced from the Pepper Bridge and Stone Valley vineyards. Details and highlights of tobacco and herb add interest to the mix of berry, cherry and plum fruits.

Beresan 2008 Stone River; $29
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc ties together fruit from the estate vineyards, noted for their cobblestones. Firm and Bordeaux-like (allowing for the addition of Syrah), it has a classic structure of black fruits, along with lightly-applied flavors of dried herb and wood, earth and coffee.

Pick of the Week – Beresan 2009 The Buzz Yellow Jacket Vineyard Red; $19
It would be difficult to find another blend this good from the sub-region known as the Rocks for less than $30. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Syrah combine into a deeply-flavored wine with blue and black fruits, licorice and a streak of delicious caramel. Grab this one by the case.


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