Taste Woodinville provided an excellent Pre-Passport opportunity for Washington wine lovers to sample the exquisitely blended European style wines of Brian Carter Cellars. Tonight, they poured three wines: 2006 Oriana, 2005 Byzance and 2004 Solesce.
This wonderful white wine blend is 45% Viognier, 35% Roussanne, and 20% Riesling. It is a very light pear color with crystal clarity. The tropical aroma was classic Viognier with apricot predominant, followed by honeysuckle. The taste is crisp, like biting into an apple but apricot flavor is forward. Although it has only .6% residual sugar, the apricot flavor gives the illusion of sweetness. it also has some nice citrus overtones. The finish has a nicely balanced acidity, ideal for food pairing. Brian Carter says it is ideal with seafood and I can certainly envision it. $24
Very dark in color, reminsicent of plums and raisins, this Rhone blend contains Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Mourvedre is a relatively new grape in Washington wines. If I had it before, I don’t recall it. According to the tasting notes, Mourvedre gives the wine a rustic flavor similar Chateauneuf du Pape. I totally got the rustic flavor and this wine made me long for a nice crusty loaf of bread, some cheese and sliced meat. The aroma was full of ripe raspberry, licorice and pepper. It has a nice earthiness to the mouth. Raspberry and black current fruit flavors help balance the tannins. Lots of complexity to this wine. $30
The Brian Carter Solesce is their finely blended Bordeaux style wine. Listening to Brian Carter talk with the other Washington wine lovers at the Taste Woodinville, his pride in this wine was evident. Each vintage is a skillful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. It is a black raspberry color with a wonderful heady aroma of plum, earth and cedar. The flavor is predominantly black current with a hint of blackberry. Lots of mouth tingling tannins in this wine add to the sensory experience of this wine. $58
It was unfortunate that the tasting room was so loud and crowded for this event. All of the physical, visual and auditory stimuli of the jostling crowd made it difficult to focus on the complexity and nuances of these wines. They were good in the tasting room, but I think they would be elevated into something really special if I could have enjoyed them at home with friends or out on the winery’s covered deck, overlooking the valley.
The winery itself is very accessible with disabled parking provided and an easy to navigate ramp to the covered deck. The tasting room was equipped with a number of standing tables as well as the tasting bar and the lovely covered deck in which to allow customers to savor their wine tastings, at least when there wasn’t a major event going on.
I look forward to the opportunity to try these wines again in a quieter setting. I think it would be a lot of fun to pair these wines with dinner for friends.