HdR Seminar #2: Washington Wines

Tasted April 18, 2016 by Loren Sonkin with 253 views

Introduction

This was the second seminar on day 1 of Hospice. It may have been ill served coming right after a great CdP seminar but so it goes. The general comments I heard that the wines were not as impressive but at least one person told me they liked them more. Each to their own. Patrick Comiskey did a great job as the moderator with the owners or winemakers of the wineries presenting their wine also up on the dais. Patrick did an amazing job. I loved listening to the history of the area going back 15,000 years. This is an area I don't drink a lot from and what I do is even less often a Rhone varietal. I truly enjoyed learning about the wines and the region and that made it well worth attending. I wish I could tell if the wines were at an awkward stage or that it is a style that I like less than others. I have had some Cayuse and Force Majeure Collaboration wines which seemed more ripe and exuberant than these. Still, a great opportunity to try these wines.

The wines were served with more than adequate pours in separate riedel tasting glasses. They had been filled presumable in the half hour or so leading up to the event. We had about an hour to sample the wines.

Flight 1 (8 notes)

White
2015 Rôtie Cellars Southern White USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
89 points
Wispy silvery green/gold in color. The nose is nice. Floral with orange blossom. With air a lot of peach appears on the nose. Also a slight green note, maybe sage which is actually very nice. Slightly oily texture. Sweet peaches on the palate. Good acidity. Heavy peaches on the finish. I might like a tad more acidity, but a lovely wine to start a tasting with.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Rôtie Cellars Northern Blend USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
86 points
Purple in color, ruby at the rim. This one left me wanting a bit. Perhaps its the vintage. The nose has bell pepper, boysenberries and black olives. On the palate, black raspberries, slightly bitter. No real tannins to speak of and not the best balance. Slight bitter and slight heat on the finish. Perhaps in need of more time?
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Tenet Wines Syrah The Pundit Columbia Valley USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
91 points
Inky purple in color. The nose has slight leather, cedar, spice and black raspberries. Nice texture. Black raspberries and black olives on the palate. Firm tannins. Some heat/warmth on the finish. It has a cooler climate feel to it although i don't know if that is true. Probably my wine of the tasting, but I doubt that was in the majority.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2013 Tenet Wines Tenet GSM USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
90 points
40/35/25 GSM Blend. dark purple in color, ruby at the rim. The wine is very tight and in need of time/air. With air, cherries show up. Someone mentioned high toned which I take to be an acidic, high tension, almost va style of wine. I did not get that here personally. Its softer ont he attack but then a wall of tannins show up. Sweet fruit on the palate, mostly black cherries. There is some complexity. This has lots of potential for a few more points, but it needs a few years in the cellar - minimum IMO.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Gramercy Cellars Syrah John Lewis Reserve USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
89 points
I wanted to like this one more, but I think its more stylistic. I did enjoy it, but it is really not my favorite style of wine. Purple/ruby in color with some dark brown notes. Very nice nose with black raspberries, herbs, roasted herbs and slight black olives. Thinner in texture (I assume due to lower alcohol). Black cherries on the palate with firm tannins coming out with air. There is a sort of moldy grass note on the finish which I did not like. This is a wine though that seemed like the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Especially with lower alcohol Syrahs, I find that they need time to integrate so there is plenty of potential here. And of course, others liked it more.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Gramercy Cellars Syrah "Lagniappe" USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
88 points
Purple in color, some ruby swirls. The nose has spice, and light cherries. On the palate, sweet/ripe cherry fruit. Light tannins. A nice acidity. Slight tannins on the finish.
Red
2013 Force Majeure Syrah Force Majeure Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
89 points
Purple in color, slightly inky. The nose has the "rubber" note often found in Washington Syrahs, not a bad things, but distinctive. Also some black raspberries. Very tannic. Not green but not ripe fruit either on the palate. Slightly bitter. A bit hollow in the mid-palate. The wine seems to be closed down right now. It seems like everything will be there, but just not giving it up today. A fine wine to drink, but one gets the impression that in five years it will be much better.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2013 Force Majeure Grenache Force Majeure Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain
90 points
From sandy soils. Ruby in color. The nose is slightly candied cherries. Nice texture. Good depth. Tight complexity. Firm tannins. Nice black cherry fruit. Finishes with some menthol. Warming on the finish. A bit candied fruit, but nice expression of Grenache.

Closing

I got to meet Patrick Comiskey in line later in the day. A very nice gentleman who is a walking encyclopedia of wine knowledge. Listening to he and Jeff king geeking out about Viognier in the mid-1980's was a true pleasure.

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