Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Otis Kenyon

After Three Rivers Winery and a good vegan lunch at a recommended cafe downtown, we headed down the street to Otis Kenyon Winery.
The black silhouette of a suited man, a new shop, with stylish front, pretty empty with minimal furniture. An plush armchair with an old school ring phone mounted on the wall. Further in the long tasting room, a makeshift tasting table with red clothe over it and plenty of wine bottles on display. A fairly new winery that has received good accolades

Shop front
We began with a Rousanne followed by a Dry Riesling, which I did not take notes on, being distracted with the conversation. 

Matchless Red 2008
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot along With the usual Bordeaux, this juicy one had good notes of cherries with interestingly a little pepper. Overall pretty simple red with a tannic finish which was a little rough. OOO

Estate Syrah 2007
This medium bodied Syrah was juicy that reminds one of raspberry jam. Decent with hints of black pepper and well balanced acidity and tannins. OOO

Overall great experience at a simple tasting room. She didn't charge for the tasting and was very down to earth, joking with us the whole time. It was a good taste of lighter reds that seems typical of Washington wines. Yum! 

Next up, Locati around the corner!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Three rivers wine

Big tasting room!
After a wonderful experience at L'Ecole, we pulled into the parking lot of the grand stand alone building of Three Rivers Winery. The tasting room was tall and spacious with plenty of merchandise to spoil any wine lover. It was pretty intimidating especially since we were about the only group there apart from an ocasional local dropping by.

We headed straight to the rocky tasting bar.

Tasting list
We went for both the flights and were served the Sauvignon blanc first.

Sauvignon blanc 2009
Typical Sauvignon Blanc with nice grapefruit, citrus, apricot flavors although this had a touch (17%) of Semillon, which kind of makes have more of a body. This was refreshing with well balanced acidity. OOOo

Chardonnay 2011
This was a pretty light Chardonnay with a nose of fresh butter! It was creamy but still light, like whipped cream. Refreshing with enough acidity and notes of minerality. Yummy! OOOo

Malbec 2009
Although this was light and simple, there were plenty of tannins in your face! Not fruity. OO

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
This well balanced one was fruity with nice earthy notes along with hints of berries. OOOo

Petit Verdot 2009
I always thought it was weird to describe a wine until i had this. this was chewy and full of tannins. The astringency was a little overwhelming. OOo

Riesling 2011
This was the first of the reserve, which I had before the reds so the tannin bomb did not get into the way of tasting. With a nice note of lychee, this was full of tropical fruits with a light honey sweetness to it and smooth residual sugar along with enough acidity. OOOo

At this point, we were the only ones around and have gotten rather chatty with the server. He was a quaint character who was taking big steps like a stiff marching soldier and on the feminine side. He was very knowledgeable about the wines and about the area in general.

Cabernet Franc 2008
This Cab Franc was from the Weinbau vineyards, which was the very first in the Waloup slope. Very tannic as expected of a Cab Franc, this was very woody as well with a herby bite and minimum fruit. OO

Merlot Champoux 2008
It was rather hard to tell after the last one if this was actually tannic. This was more fruity than the Cab Franc with notes of cherry and raspberry. There is that moist bark again and a touch of herbs. OOOo

Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Tannic and herby. Icks, platter wrecked. 

Mini break! Plenty of talking about La Jolla, where the man used to live! 

Svelte 2008
This potent young wine has potential to do some wonders with some age. Layers of tannins waiting to be discovered. Well balanced and smooth with a touch of residual sugar, this is one that will be wonderful with age. OOOo

After this encounter, we headed towards downtown Walla Walla for some grubs and more wine tasting there!

Friday, February 1, 2013


L'Ecole was recommended to us by the lady at Woodward Canyon. It is a beautiful stand alone building that used to be a school and it becomes obvious as you walk in. We walked up the lacquered creaky wooden stairs that led us to the main room a.k.a the tasting room. Decorated with wooden shelves laden with wine and some books for the library touch, large windows let in plenty of light into this spacious room.

Wine Tasting 101

Tasting list

Estate Luminesce 2011
This white Bordeaux blend of 67% Semillon and 33% Sauvignon blanc was a bright and even a little creamy. It was later that I found out they were racked in neutral french oak for a little malolactic action. This was a yummy refreshing white with wonderful notes of tropical fruits like passion fruit (both tartness and sweetness), a little touch of honey and bouquet. OOOo

Chardonnay 2011
A buttery chardonnay but unlike the super creamy counterpart in California, this had a smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. This was dry with light acidity. It was not very fruity and it was hard to point at any particular fruit. With plenty of minerality, this had more bouquet than it had fruits. OOOo

Merlot 2009
Tannins! Other than that, it was hard to tell what is going on except for the plum and spices like nutmeg. OOo

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 
This had an interesting nose that was not something I expected from a Cabernet Sauvignon. It was not a bad smell but it was just different. Perhaps a signature of Washington Cabernet? Well balanced with good acidity and tannins, this young one was juicy with dark fruits like plums. This is unlike the big bold Cabs from California but rather a lighter, more herby and savory with a touch of spice. Hmmmmm. OOOo

Estate Perigee 2009
A bordeaux that was a little on the tannic side to taste much else. OO

Apogee 2009
This was made from grapes cooler climate than was expected. Even so, this was an earthy herby bordeaux blend that had a kick of spice and raspberry jamminess. OOO

Syrah 2009
This was an interesting one that got me confused about 2009 for Walla Walla. I was told that these Syrahs were obtained from a warmer climate so with the warmer evenings, comes more sugar development. The end result is a juicy, jammy wine with plenty of residual sugar. It was interesting to get a peppery syrah with a blend of maple syrup and raspberry.  I don't know how I feel about savory pancakes just yet. OOo

School snacks
Overall, L'Ecole had some wonderful wines and I cannot get over how pretty the place was. I am pretty sure we got the Syrah to do some back to back Syrah tastings just for funsies and a half bottle of Chardonnay which I enjoyed! Next up, the very peculiar man at Three Rivers Winery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Woodward canyon

First stop of the day!
After last night introduction to Washington wines, we proceed today onto our first stop of the day in Walla Walla- Woodward Canyon. It was a pretty stand alone cottage with a decent sized tasting room. I wish I took a photo of the surrounding! It was flat farm land with pretty mountains in the backdrop. Just beautiful! 

We were the only ones in the tasting room. They were very friendly and Christmas decorations were in the process of being taken down. The young lady in charge was helpful when we asked for recommendations for wine and food. She even prepared a handout for tasters! How thoughtful! 

We did the classic tasting:

Riesling 2011
This was a dry one with refreshing notes of lemon. Not your typical Riesling. OOo

Red blend NV
This was a meaty savory red blend with plenty of tannins. It was almost sticky, and the Cabernet franc I believe made it much lighter than it would have been. This would be great for everyday drinking! OOO

Merlot 2010
Fruity nose. This was a light merlot with plenty of tannins to boost with very earthy, woody note that reminds one of moist tree bark. Interesting Merlot! OOO

Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 
A blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot and some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this was bright and tannic with an alcohol bit and notes of dark fruits and cherries. Looking back at the notes I took, I wish there were more details! OOO

Pretty presentation
So after yesterday night and now, we are starting to notice a little trend in Washington wines that we haven't quite understood. The heavy reds seem to have a similar nose and taste profile that we cannot figure out hence the very limited description. Is it the moist tree bark? Perhaps as we taste more, it will become more obvious. Onwards to L'Ecole! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barnard and Griffin

Hip, modern and jazzy
We strolled down the street from Bookwalter and came upon this new establishment. It was modern with colorful art pieces and soft lighting. There was jazz music in the fairly empty place. They are so new that they don't even have a proper site yet.

We got the Viognier, a Cabernet Sauvignon flight and a dessert flight to end the day with.

B&G bottles

This was less floral than a typical viognier. It was light, clean and crisp, with notes of tropical fruits. Not too bad.  OO

Cabernet Sauvignon Flight
Cabernet Sauvignon flight

First we had a row about how they smell which was very interesting since they clearly stood out from anything we have tasted. One of them in particular was a stark contrast with the rest and everyone on the table could tell.

This was one of the more normal smelling one with a floral note. It was tannic with fruity notes of raspberry. OOo

Clone 21
A cabernet sauvignon with a funny smell! Someone threw in iodine which I could smell why. It had a kind of chemical lab smell that really was not appetizing. Otherwise, this young wine was spicy and a little creamy with some residual sugar. Oo

This smells normal with notes of berries. It was definitely more tannic and therefore more astringent which showed in the finish. Otherwise, I enjoy the note of blueberry. OO

On to the dessert flight!

This dry Riesling had wonderful notes of longan and melon. Easy and not loaded with residual sugar. OOO

Orange  muscat
This muscat was unlike any other. With a tropical fruit nose, this was light with plenty of residual sugar and delicious notes of lemon Creme brûlée, papaya and mango! Not much acidity. OOOo

Late harvest muscat canelli
Nose of tropical fruits again although I might be mixing them up a little. This light almost syrupy wine had delectable notes of mango and honeysuckle.  OOO

If you noticed, there was not any vintages on each of their wines. Even on their wine list, no  vintages. Perhaps they feel it is not a big deal? Or they are too new to notice? Anyhow, they definitely have a while to go. 

Fun lighting!
With the wine tasting down, the highlight of the night is just coming up! Here is the crazy Christmas lightshow we saw after plenty of wine in our system and then back home for some amazing (most likely the BEST) apple pie I have ever had. Thanks Peggy! Starting off in Washington with a bang! More tasting tomorrow! 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Washington: Epic Bookwalter

Happy New Year Everyone! Hope everyone had a great holiday season! And yes, I am lagging. Oh well. New Year Resolution: Keep up with the drinking and posting! 

Snowy drive
It was a scenic and snowy drive from Seattle and we finally made it to Richland, East Washington a little after dark. Not wasting any time, we made our first stop at Bookwalter winery just down the street from where we were staying. This will be exciting since I had Bookwalter wines a year ago!

Snowy and festive!

It was a spanish style stand alone winery all covered in white and a full parking lot. The restaurant/wine bar was popping, with live music and a full house for the holidays. We got seated immediately and had full attention from our waitress. Their food selection sounded delicious and was well thought out with the wines in mind.

Epic Flight
We ordered the Epic flight:

Couplet 2011
A blend of chardonnnay and viognier, this had plenty of the floral bouquet you would expect from viognier with roses in the mix. This was fresh and light with no oak at all. Well balanced with wonderful notes of lemon, green apple and honeysuckle, this was enjoyable and a great wine to begin the Washington tasting with! OOO

Foreshadow Merlot 2010
This was an interesting one since I have had the 2009. This was high in alcohol (it hits you!) meaning plenty of sugar for the yeasties, making me think it was a warm year. But no, 2010 was a cool year! Just a young merlot I guess. Nonetheless, this had plenty of tannins to go around and pretty bright with notes of earthiness and fruits like cherry although it was not very fruity surprisingly. Definitely on the savory side. Compared with the 2009, this was on the opposite end with the fruit. OOO

Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
With a nose of toasty caramel and blackcurrant, this had layers of tannins, with juicy notes of dark red cherries, walnuts and cigar. Lingering finish of dark fruits. I would not call it smooth but this was enjoyable. Sounds pretty similar to 2009 except for the chocolate and cigar.  OOOo

Erlenmeyer flask

Protagonist 2010
A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot, syrah and cabernet franc, this was quite the party! Nose of toasty caramel and juicy fruits. This was less tannic than expected, with a smooth silky medium to heavy mouthfeel. With a touch of sugar residual, this was juicy and fruity with notes of cocoa and blackcurrant. This had a lingering finish of raisins. And I love the way they served it. YUM! OOOO

Next stop: Barnard and Griffin!