Spent two days in Walla Walla with friends drinking vino and stuffing our faces. Is a new winery sprouting up every day over there? They are everywhere and most I've never even heard of! My second observation was that there is a great deal of quality cab being made in Walla Walla. Kind of a cab renaissance happening. We didn't get there until 3pm so Day 1 has just 3 wineries and dinner.
Reynvaan Family Vineyards -- I had heard some scuttlebutt about this new winery here, on this board, and wanted to try the wines before plunking down the cash for some. They had just bottled their first vintage in May (two syrahs) made from their "In the Rocks" Vineyard (planted in 2004) which is littered with stones--remind you of a certain Walla Walla winery? Suffice it to say, the wines "rocked!" If you get a chance, take a look at their website and seriously consider ordering as they didn't make much and it's already almost sold out.
2007 Reynvaan In the Rocks Syrah -- Knockout nose of violets, dark blue fruit, pineapple and meat. Thick without being heavy in the mouth giving way to ripe dark fruit, spice, and some savory elements. Very floral on the finish (co-fermented with viognier). This is quality winemaking. 92pts.
2007 Reynvaan The Contender Syrah -- A contender it is! Nose was a bit muted but coaxed out some blackberries, dark cherry, and even a bit of bacon. The mouthfeel was pure elegance (co-fermented w/ marsanne). A heft again without the weight revealing a lushness I haven't had in such a young wine. Concentrated ripe fruit, stones, smoked pork. This was fantastic. Dale even remarked to our friend, Randy, that is was going to be all downhill from there! 94pts.
Next stop was Chateau Rollat. Their downtown tasting room was under construction so it had a nice rustic feel!
2008 Chateau Rollat Rose -- Tasty. Dry with some spicy strawberries although a bit tart. 87 pts
2005 Chateau Rollat Cabernet -- Wow, this was good. Densely packed fruit with herbs and eucalyptus. Nice balance of oak, tannin, ripe fruit, and acid. We were all nodding our heads to this one. 92pts
2005 Chateau Rollat Cabernet Edouard -- You could tell this was a more serious wine but just seemed a bit disjointed at the moment. A little more structure with more restrained fruit. Built for the long haul. 90pts +
We had an early dinner reservation so we had a brief stop at Nicholas Cole. Dale immediately broke his bottle of Rollat Cab on one of their "A Clockwork Orange" chairs so he headed back to Rollat to see if they would replace it. The punk kid pouring wine at NC said he wouldn't so we were excited at the possibility of great customer service at NC. The kid pouring was arrogant and frustrated at us for not hanging on his every word. Not a pleasant experience which was heightened by the fact that the wines weren't all that good, either. I didn't take any notes as they pissed me off but I do remember that their best wine was the GraEagle, their red table wine. Everything else was expensive and pedestrian.
On to dinner at Creektown Cafe where we had a good meal and some fantastic wines --Rulo Viognier, 2007 Mon Aieul, and 2006 Saxum Heartstone.
2007 Rulo Viognier -- From the frist whiff you could tell this didn't see any oak. Nose of apples, unripe pears, citrus. Nice mouthpuckering acidity balanced with that creaminess you can get from viognier. Great white for the price as most Rulo wines are. 89pts.
2007 Usseglio Mon Aieul -- I have been anticipating this wine for a couple of years now. I can't imagine it could ever have lived up to expectations. It wasn't as accessible as the 2006 out of the gate but has tons more potential. A little darker than I expected with a nose of cherry liqueur, black currants, spice, and garrigue. Never hot but just jam-packed with ripe fruit, glycerine, and tons of chocolate. This wine is just so big but never close to approaching over the top with its sweetness and structure. If you're lucky enough to own multiple bottles, drink one now for the experience, but let the rest sleep for awhile as this is going to only get better. 95+++++pts.
2006 Saxum Heartstone -- My first Heartstone and color me impressed. Dark as the Dark Knight, this puppy certainly held its own after the MA. Nice ripe fruit from the grenache, weight and sweetness from the syrah, and all things rustic from the mourvedre. While it doesn't have the depth of a Bone Rock or the playfulness of the Broken Stones, it does possess a little of each quality. Loaded with ripe blue fruit, no evidence of overt tannin. Just a seamless, balanced (I know), concentrated wine. I was worried it needed a decant, but it was ready to roll from the get go. Looking forward to trying the 07! 94pts.