K&L Wine Tasting Series: Washington State Wines

The third Sunday of each month from 4 to 6pm, K&L Wine Merchants and Campanile Restaurant host a Wine Tasting Series, featuring a different region of wines. For $25 you can taste a great selection of 30-40 wines, along with small bites.  A fun way to spend an afternoon and also to get a good understanding of what the featured region has to offer.

A recent afternoon was spent tasting Washington State wines.

99% of wine grapes grow in the Columbia Valley, the largest viticultural region in Washington. It includes the AVA’s Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Wahluke Slope, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain, and Lake Chelan. Predominately planted to Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, there are 6,851 vineyard acres planted under the Columbia Valley AVA.


Red Mountain, the newest AVA established in 2001, is located on the eastern edge of the Yakima Valley.  More than 15 wineries are located within the AVA, with other wineries sourcing grapes from the area, which has over 1,199 acres planted. Grape varieties planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

Walla Walla Valley, established in 1984, was first planted in the 1850s by Italian immigrants. With almost 100 wineries and more than 1,600 acres planted, the key varietal is Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, and Viognier are also grown.

Yakima Valley, established in 1983, includes more than 60 wineries. With more than 16,000 acres planted, over one third of Washington’s vineyards are planted in the Yakima Valley. Chardonnay is most widely planted, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Syrah.

Here is a list of the wines that were poured:

Cadaretta – Named after one of the Middleton family’s early lumber schooners which used to ship timber from Washington to California in the 1920s-30s.

2010 SBS (75% Sauvignon Blanc/ 25% Semillon) – aromatic wine with fresh acidity.
2008 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

J. Bookwalter – Producing small lots of high quality wines since 1983.

“Subplot #26” Multi Vintage Red
2009 Foreshadow Merlot

De Lille and Doyenne – DeLille focuses on Bordeaux varietals and Doyenne focusses on Rhone varietals.

2010 DeLille Cellars “Chaleur Estate” Blanch (77% Sauvignon Blanc, 23% Semillon) – French oak influences the nose with aromas of vanilla and toasted almonds but is balanced by the acidity on the palate
2008 DeLille Cellars “Chaleur” (64% Cabernet, 25% Merlot, 9% Cab Franc, 2% Petit Verdot) – Nose of black cherry, plum and white pepper, this wine will be great in a couple more years
2010 Doyenne-Aix Roussanne
2008 Doyenne-Aix Syrah

Long Shadows – Washington wine legend Allen Shoup created a joint venture that brings highly acclaimed winemakers from different regions of the world to Washington.  Each individual winery reflects the reputation of each winemaker.

2001 “Poet’s Leap” Riesling – Made by one of Germany’s most highly acclaimed Riesling producers, Armin Diel, proprietor of the renowned Schlossgut Diel.
2007 “Sequel” Syrah – Australian John Duval, formerly of Penfolds Grange, makes his “Sequel” Syrah in the Columbia Valley.
2006 “Chester Kidder” Red – Gilles Nicault, former winemaker for Woodward Canyon, makes this wine, named in honor of Allen Shoup’s grandparents, Charles Chester and Maggie Kidder.
2007 “Feather” Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley winemaker Randy Dunn brings his world-class Cabernet Sauvignon reputation to the Columbia Valley.

Chateau Ste. Michelle – Founded in 1967, Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington.

2008 “Cold Creek Vineyard” Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 “Indian Wells” Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Columbia Crest – The sister winery to Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest was founded in 1984.

2008 “Walter Clore” Red (57% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Northstar – Winemaker David “Merf” Merfeld blends grapes from over 14 vineyards and 18 different blocks to make his Merlot.

2008 Columbia Valley Merlot

Januik – Owner Mike Januik produces wine from some of the top vineyards in the Columbia Valley – Klipsun, Stillwater Creek, Alder Ridge, Seven Hills and more – while maintaining an artisanal winemaking style.

2008 Columbia Valley Red

Owen Roe – “Sinister Hand,” the name of the wine, was inspired by a rowing competition by two revolutionary Irish families (the O’Neill’s and “O’Reilly’s) to establish ownership of some land.  The first to touch the land would become ruler.  O’Neill was lagging behing to crew member cut off his hand and threw it to shore – and the O’Neill’s wone the title to rule the land.

2010 “Sinister Hand” Columbia Valley Rhone Blend

Tamarack Cellars – Founded in 1998 by Ron and Jamie Coleman, Tamarack makes elegant and balanced wines.

2009 “Firehouse Red” Columbia Valley Red
2009 Columbia Valley Cabernet Franc

Spring Valley Vineyards – Now owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Spring Valley produces 100% estate-grown fruit.

2009 “Uriah” Walla Wally Valley Red

Gramercy Cellars – founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington whose goal is to make balanced wines that exude terroir.

2009 “Third Man” Walla Walla Rhone Blend

Buty – Caleb Foster and his wife Nina Buty Foster started Buty in 2000 to create artisanal vineyard designated chardonnay and nuanced red blends, including Rediviva, Washington’s pioneering blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon.

2010 Columbia Valley Cabernet Merlot Cabernet Franc

L’Ecole No. 41 – The winery is located in a converted old school house, which is depicted on their label.  A second generation, family-owned artisan winery founded in 1983, they are the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.

2008 Columbia Valley Merlot
2009 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Mannina Cellars – Located in the heart of Walla Walla Valley, Mannina is a family run business produced small lots.

2010 Cellars “Cali” Red (Cabernet, Merlot, Sangiovese)

Saviah Cellars – The name is a family name from owner Anita Funk; she and her husband winemaker Richard Funk who came to Walla Walla from Montana in 1991.

2010 “Jack” Cabernet Sauvignon

Kiona Vineyards – Kiona (meaning “Brown Hills”) is the original Yakama Nation Native American name for the Red Mountain area. John Williams and Jim Holmes first planted on Red Mountain in 1975, producing wine starting in 1980.

2009 Yakima Red Mountain Ice Wine

Hedges Winery – Located in the heard of Red Mountain, Hedges is a 2nd generation family business that is focused on expressing the terroir of Red Mountain.

2009 “CMS Red” Columbia Valley Red Blend

Cadence Winery – Producing Bordeaux-styled blends in the terroir of Red Mountain.

2009 “Coda” Red Mountain Washington Bordeaux Blend

Maison Bleue – Dedicated to terroir driven wines from appellations across Washington, they focus primarily on Rhône varieties.

2010 “Au Contraire” Chardonnay
2011 “Le Familie” Rose
2010 “Jaja” Red (90% Grenache, 10% Mouvedre)
2008 Soos Creek Ciel du Cheval Vineyard (76% Cabernet, 15% Cab Franc, 9% Merlot)

Check out upcoming wine tastings from the K&L Wine Tasting Series:

Sunday, August 19, 2012, 4pm – 6pm at Campanile
Australia Rediscovered

Sunday, September 16, 2012, 4pm – 6pm at Campanile
Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico

Sunday, October 21, 2012, 4pm – 6pm at Campanile