2016 Hospice du Rhône–Washington Rhônes Seminar

| April 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

WA Rhones #1a 4-15-16

This seminar was moderated by Patrick Comiskey of Wine & Spirits, and the panelists were Sean Boyd of Rôtie Cellars, Bob Bertheau of Tenet Wines, Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars, and Todd Alexander of Force Majeure Vineyard.

Patrick spent much of his time discussing the history of winegrowing in Washington State, dating back to the first grapes planted in Fort WA Rhones #5a 4-15-16Vancouver in 1825.  But perhaps the most interesting part of his discussion of the soils was covering the impact of the Missoula Floods.  The Missoula Floods were a series of tremendous flooding events at the end of the last ice age, caused by the break in glacial ice dams.  For more information:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods

To see some interesting computer animations of the Missoula Floods:

http://gorgefloods.org/ice-age-flood-simulation-video/

The result of the series of Missoula Floods was to dramatically change the topography and soil composition of large parts of Washington State, and also the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

In terms of the wines tasted at the seminar, they had the misfortune (for me) of following the red CdP’s of the immediately preceding seminar; that’s a very tough act to follow.  For example, they poured the 2014 Tenet Wines “The Pundit,” the prior vintage of which I had tasted and enjoyed the day before.  In this context, the 2014 Pundit seemed a tad simple and slightly oaky, although it’s also possible that vintage variation and one less year of bottle age played a part.

My two top wines from this seminar:

WA Rhones #4a 4-15-161. 2013 Gramercy Cellar John Lewis Reserve Syrah Walla Walla.  A small case production of only about 200 cases, and a retail price starting at $75.  While initially a touch reductive, this is a very meaty/leathery/peppery style of Syrah.  Per the GC website, it’s whole cluster and comes from the mid-slope of the Les Collines vineyard.  My notes say that this wine probably needs 3-5 years in the cellar; potentially a classic Northern Rhone style of Syrah.

2. 2013 Force Majeure Vineyard Syrah Estate. The estate wines come from Red Mountain.  The retail price is approximately $70.  Stylistically, it’s similar to the Gramercy Cellar, with lots of pepper and dark berries.  But it diverges with more of a menthol/licorice quality, especially in the midpalate.  It seems more approachable than the Gramercy, and probably won’t require nearly as much cellaring.

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