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Observations for a new year: Washington wineries I’m thinking about in 2013

Posted in Wineries

A new year is always ripe with possibility and anticipation, and 2013 is no exception. Over the next few days, I’ll m going to share things I’m looking forward to following this year in Washington wine. Without further ado, let’s start with some individual wineries. Ready, set, go!!

Washington wine predictions 2013Eight Bells – The Eight Bells boys are doing some really good stuff with Mike Sauer’s Red Willow fruit over in the Roosevelt/ Ravenna neighborhood. Plus, they embody the concept of ‘urban winery.’ Where else can you go wine tasting and then head down to Montlake to tailgate at Husky Stadium, all in the same neighborhood?

Watermill – Impeccable estate fruit, first-class production facility (they have their own bottling line) and a new winemaker – Noah Fox Reed, formerly assistant winemaker at Northstar. Noah takes over for Andrew Brown, who is going to focus on the company’s rapidly expanding cider operations, Blue Mountain Cider. This will be the first full season, so to speak, with Noah guiding the wines. He did a great job with Merf at Northstar – I’m looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish at this hidden gem of a winery in Milton-Freewater.

Charles Smith – I’m really interested to see what Charles and Brennon Leighton cook up with their new Chardonnay project.  Ditto for the Charles & Charles project in light of the recent investment by Trinchero Family Estates.

Rolling Bay & Amelia Wynn: I’m a big fan of the home team here on Bainbridge Island, and two of them caught my attention toward the end of 2012. Alphonso deKlerk seems to be hitting his stride at Rolling Bay Winery and Paul Bianchi is doing some beautiful wines at Amelia Wynn. Paul’s Sangiovese, sourced from Red Mountain, will stand up to any sangio in the state, IMHO.

Mannina Cellars – Totally flying below the radar in Walla Walla, Don Redman routinely knocks it out of the park at Mannina Cellars. His Cali blend is particularly compelling. Drinks like a $40 bottle, is a steal at $22 and you can find it from time to time at $18. Recent Spectator score: 93 pts. Any questions?

Alexandria Nicole – Jarrod Boyle, aka The Big Mon, usually has a whole bunch of interesting stuff up his sleeve. Example: Noble Rot, the fascinating wine-beer collaboration with Dog Fish Ales. I’m guessing that’s just the tip of the iceberg and we’ll be hearing more fun stuff from ANC in 2013.

I’m guessing … we’ll be hearing more fun stuff from ANC in 2013

Mark Ryan – No secret that Mark is putting out some excellent wines, but I’m more interested to see how his Walla Walla venture works out. I think he’s the first Woodinville winery to make the reverse commute and open a second TR in Walla Walla. Most people are going the other direction. Will others try it? Maybe we’ll find out in 2013.

Avennia – The buzz around Avennia is well deserved. Marty and Chris released their Rhones in late 2012 to great fanfare. The Bordeaux blends go public at their release weekend Feb. 9-10 in Woodinville. You’ll want to make sure this one’s on your calendar.

Stevens – Tim is crushing some late harvest Viognier, literally as we speak. Yowza!

This is one man’s impressions, and hardly an exhaustive list from the state’s 750+ wineries.

Now, tell me – which wineries have your attention going into 2013? I’m all ears, and would love to hear them.

Coming soon – thoughts and observations about WA wine regions I’m thinking about in 2013.

  • Ricketts55

    Agree with all your choices Bob! Mark Ryan is particular is
    fast becoming a force in our state.

    Here’s a few more for the list. I think Ott&Murphy on Whidbey Island is one
    to watch. Winemaker Eric Murphy has a clear vision of where he wants to take
    his wines and brings the same certainty to his craft as he does to his
    “other” full time job — professional mountain guide (and I mean the
    big ones — Everest, K2, Kilimanjaro, etc).  I’m keen to see where he’s
    headed.

    Dusted Valley: Winemakers Chad J. and Corey B. are heavily invested in The
    Rocks — same vineyard that produces grapes for Cayuse.  This is one tough
    patch of ground that grows some incredible grapes. DV may source out some of
    the grapes to interested winemakers who want to blend and even craft a
    single varietal.  Two great and focused winemakers at work here.

    Heralding an ever-growing list of women winemakers are two of my favorites –
    Kristine Van Loben Sels of Arbor Crest (full disclosure: I wrote and
    photographed an article on AC for Washington Tasting Room magazine); and
    Marie-Eve at Forgeron. Kristine has not only rejuvenated the traditional AC
    line but she and husband Jim created the Van Loben Sels line of premium wines
    that harken to the bold and powerful reds that she’s determined to make. The
    new Bona Dea is just killer. Marie-Eve is no stranger to WA wines of course –
    her French roots blended with WA grapes makes for some intriguing wines. 
    She’s a true artist coming into her own.

    Could easily add another 10 to the list — John Patterson (who doesn’t seem to
    know how to make anything less than a great wine); Castillo de Feliciano
    putting the Spanish touch into their wines; John Zimmerman about to make his
    first wines for Tefft Cellars, and so on.  We’re in for a good year!

     

  • kcc13

    I love what Tim and Paige are doing in their little Woodinville Cave.  Get to see them quite often during harvest.  Tim’s Dineen Viognier is an instant classic.  Keep and eye out for Proper, Pomum, Ramseyer and a little ditty called Crossfork Creek.  Again with full disclosure…I am close with all of these except Pomum.

    • http://www.wawinepr.com/ Bob Silver

      Thanks for the comments. Couldn’t agree more about Tim and Paige. I’m a big fan of the Viognier, the merlot and his big fattie, XY!

      *Bob Silver*

      Silver Strategic Communications

      206.355.2993 || bob@bobsilverpr.com || @bob_silver

      Personal blog: WA | Wine | PR

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1016324270 Chris Loeliger

    Couldn’t agree more with the Mark Ryan selection.

    As for a lesser known winery to watch for, add Lauren Ashton Cellars to your list. I have had the opportunity to taste through the lineup and all were quite nice. I’d like to see what Kit does over the next 3 years really.

    • http://www.wawinepr.com/ Bob Silver

      Thanks for the tip! It’s definitely on my radar for 2013.

      *Bob Silver*

      Silver Strategic Communications

      206.355.2993 || bob@bobsilverpr.com || @bob_silver

      Personal blog: WA | Wine | PR

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