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Haunted by Exceptional Washington Wines

Some wines haunt us, they linger in our conscious even months after the bottle has emptied. In honor of Halloween and the some of the amazing Washington wines that I have sampled this year, here is a list of wines that have haunted me.

Des Voigne Cellars 2007 Montreux Syrah

During the September Woodinville Warehouse Wine Walk, Darren was filtering the 07 Montreux Syrah in preparation for bottling.  Bottle shock can literally really shake a wine up. Imagine a wine that has just been racked and filtered. Yet, I sampled this inky black Syrah mere minutes after filtration. It was smooth and full bodied. Big fruit in this wine balanced with sturdy tannins and pleasing acidity. Complex to the point where I can’t point out a single characteristic that made us lick our lips over this wine and dream about its release.  I don’t care why it is a good wine, I just want more of it in my glass. The 06 Montreux Syrah won Silver at the 2009 Seattle Wine Awards, watch and see what the 2007 Montreux Syrah will win!

The Des Voigne Cellars 2007 Montreaux Syrah will be released on Nov 21, 2009.


Icicle Ridge Winery 2007 Merlot Reserve

I tasted this wine at the Icicle Ridge Winery Under the Tuscan Moon dinner this summer. It was love at first sip!

“…a luxurious Merlot, with softer tannins and a lush mouth feel. The nose was complex with aromas of tobacco, blackberry, eucalyptus, cherry and violet. The flavors of blackberry and cherry, evolve into violet, cocoa and tobacco on the palate.”

The Icicle Ridge Winery 2007 Merlot Reserve is sold out.


Obelisco Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

I first tasted this luxurious Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2009 Seattle Wine Awards where it won Double Gold. I was not the only one impressed by the velvety mouth feel and lush fruit, cocoa, spice and vanilla on the nose and palate. It was one of the first wines to run out at the Seattle Wine Awards. I had the pleasure of tasting this delicious Washington Cabernet at the Small Lot showing of Bottle Shock at Fremont Outdoor Theatre. I made sure that I saved this wine for last so I could savor it.

The Obelisco Estate 07 Cabernet Sauvignon is available in some of the finest restaurants in the nation and from the winery. Quantities are limited.


Olsen Estates 2007 Petit Verdot

Another Seattle Wine Award, Gold, winner, I didn’t have the opportunity to taste this wine until Debut and Discovery celebration of newer Washington Wineries. I was a judge for Debut and Discovery and this wine won my vote for best wine out of the 40+ wines that I tasted that night. Usually Petit Verdot is a blending grape, it is rare to use it in a single varietal wine. But when you have grapes of the quality used in this wine, you make and exception! This is an intense wine more than a big wine. The fruit flavors of  bing cherry, blackberry and dried currants are focused and intense, more like the essence of fruit. The tannins are moderate and the acidity is moderate, providing balance and complexity to this estate Petit Verdot. I told Olsen Estates that this Washington State Petit Verdot was like “marble wrapped in velvet”. The underlying structure is strong, solid and beautiful and that structure is tempered by a velvety and luxurious mouth feel. The finish goes on into next week.

The Olsen Estates 2007 Petit Verdot is available on line or at the winery.


Syncline 2007 Mourvèdre, Horse Heaven Hills

This was another exquisite wine that I first sampled at the 2009 Seattle Wine Awards, where it won a Double Gold. I was reading the Twitter stream during the event when  I saw this wine described as “Sex in a bottle”. With a description like that, I figured that I needed to check it out.That description doesn’t even begin to explain this Washington Mourvèdre. This is wine is plush with layers of aromas of dried fruit, coffee, spice and tar.  The flavors evolve in your mouth like a well written play.  After the introduction, this wine takes you on a journey of discovery. Different layers of flavor evolve and tell their parts of the story. After the curtain comes down and the lights come up, you are still applauding this wine.

The Wine Advocate just scored this wine 93 points.

The Syncline Mourvèdre 2007 is sold out.


William Church Winery Malbec 2008

At a recent bloggers’ dinner with William Church Winery, we had the opportunity to barrel sample their 2008 Malbec. Their 2007 Malbec won Double Gold at the  2009 Seattle Wine Awards but this vintage is even better than the last!  It needs to continue maturing, but the foundation for a complex and satisfying Malbec is already in place.

The William Church Winery 2008 Malbec is yet to be released.


Woodhouse Kennedy Shah 2005 Tempranillo Reserve

This Washington Tempranillo  is the inspiration behind this post. Every time I taste it, the experience of this wine haunts me. I introduced Vivian to this wine recently and when she told me she dreamt of this wine I knew I had to write this post about wines that evoke such a strong reaction to our psyche.

Last summer, I tasted this sublime wine a mere week after bottling. Even with moderate bottle shock, the inherent beauty of this wine shone through. It was even better when I tried it again in September. The wine has recovered from the bottle shock, and was an orchestra of complex aromas on the nose.  As the wine warmed in the glass it exposed new aromas and flavors. This is a wine that reminds you of the living character of wine, how wine evolves in the barrel, the bottle, the glass and the palate. Cherry, smoke, spice in various mutations and intensities weave and interact with each other like dancers on a dance floor.

When introducing Vivian to this wine she asked me if this was a classic Tempranillo and I had to admit that I am no expert on Tempranillo. To be honest, I didn’t care if the Kennedy Shah Tempranillo reflected wine style A or wine style B.  I just wanted the server to finish pouring so I could taste this mesmerizing wine again! This wasn’t a wine that I wanted to de-construct, I didn’t want to think about this wine, I wanted to see, smell, taste and feel this wine. Sometimes a wine is just “bleeping” awesome.

Woodhouse Kennedy Shah 2005 Tempranillo is available to wine club members only.


I invite you to share the wines that haunt you. Tell us about the wines that make time stand still for you so you could savor.

5 Responses to “Haunted by Exceptional Washington Wines”

  1. winebeerWA says:

    I continue to be “haunted” by @WoodhouseWine 05 Tempranillo reserve Haunted by Exceptional Washington Wines http://wine-beer-washington.com/wine/hau

    • WriteforWine says:

      @winebeerWA I love @WoodhouseWine 05Tempranillo Reserve too! They have free tastings tdy of new release Holiday Blend. Also hauntingly good!

  2. Vivian says:

    Mmmmmm, the Woodhouse Tempranillo!! Spanish wines and food led me down the wine geek path. Thus when the Woodhouse was poured I pondered aloud if it was crianza, reserva, or gran reserva in style. Bean shrugged her shoulders not just to indicate she did not know but as a kind way to signal she did not care and neither would I once I sipped. How right she was!

  3. Ed amato says:

    I finally tried the DeVoigne Cellars 2007 Montreux Syrah a few weeks back and was blown away that a syrah could taste so good. Bean is the “Syrah kid” on the team but would gladly fill in if one of these bottle should show up again.

    • Bean says:

      Uh huh this from the man who snatched the glass of Montreux Syrah out of my hand at the Poco Wine Room tasting and talked non-stop about that wine all the way home. Then started talking about it again the next day!
      Word to the wise: I wouldn’t get in between Ed and his Montreux!

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