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!!
Eight 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.