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K Vintners' New "D-Vine Syrah" Blend

New NW Wine Releases
For May 2, 2005

• Wine Spectator 2003 Pinot noir Ratings
• Cayuse/K Vintners Special "D'Vine" Syrah
• Patricia Green Cellars' "Dollar Bills Only" is Here!
• Fidelitas, Basel Cellars, Woodward New Releases
• Wonderful New White Wines for Warm Weather

The biggest news of the week is the release of the 48 case production K Vintners "D'Vine Syrah" Blend 03 $48. Kevin Novak, a local distributor, contracted with K Vintners and Cayuse Vineyards to make him a small amount of wine especially for his company.

Charles combined fruit from Cayuse and K Vintners' Morrison Vineyard, Cougar Hills Vineyard, Walls Vineyard, Cayuse Vineyard, andWalla Walla's Seven Springs Vineyard. The blend is mostly Syrah, with Grenache and Mourvedre added from the Cayuse Vineyard. This is a wine for the collector who wants the rarest of Walla Walla's boutique wines. Very limited.

Everyone is Tasting
Beaux Freres' New 95 Point Pinot noir!

Wine Spectator's 2003 Oregon Pinot noirs Ratings

Wine Spectator released a new slew of Harvey Steiman's reviews of Oregon 2003 Pinot noirs. We've compiled them, added them to our pages, and you can read them here.

Wine Spectator gave Beaux Freres great ratings for all three of its 2003 Pinot noirs. The 95 point Beaux Freres Pinot noir "The Beaux Freres Vineyard" 03 $75 is now joined on the podium by the Beaux Frees "The Upper Terrace" Pinot noir 03 (94 points) and the Beaux Freres Belle Soeurs Pinot noir 03 $48 (93 points).

Woodward Releases "Estate Red 02"

Rik Small makes wines from some of the best vineyards in Washington State, and only in the last few years has he offered a wine made from Estate fruit. Woodward Canyon Estate Red 02 $52.50/47.25 is produced from the finest lots of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc.

The Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard was managed to produce less than two tons of fruit per acre, resulting in a small harvest of intensely flavored, ripe, complex fruit. As usual, the wine is very limited, and is intended to be cellared for up to 20 years.

Patricia Green Cellars' "Dollar Bills Only" 2003 Pinot noir is Out!

Patty Green makes highly regarded and very limited Pinot noirs that sell for $30-$85. Once a year, she releases a second label Pinot noir, "Dollar Bills Only" that is eagerly awaitred by bargain hunters and Patty Green lovers alike.

The 2003 wine is remarkably good for the price, with a bit more structure and fruit than the precious vintage. Patricia Green Cellars Pinot noir "Dollar Bills Only" 03 $16.99/$15.29 was made in a bit larger quantity than last year, but it will sell out rapidly.

Patty has also released her cult fav Patricia Green Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 04 $17.95/$16.16. Patty's Sauvignon Blanc has a big following, and she only makes it in years when she can source great fruit and everything goes well in the winemaking process. The 2004 Sauvignon Blanc has all the crisp, juicy freshness of her best vintages, with hints of grassiness and gooseberries. Limited.

There's a bit more of Patty's best wine, the Patricia Green Cellars Pinot noir "Notorious" 03 $75/$67.50. The "Notorious" Pinot noir is composed of two barrels from Block 1B, two from Block 2B and one from Block 1A in Balcombe Vineyard. There is also one barrel of Goldschmidt Vineyard made from a blend of Coury, 115 and La Tache clones. The wine is the pinnacle of everything good that this vintage has to offer. Great aromatics of berries, spices, minerals, smoke and sweet but subtle oak. The fruit is intensely concentrated with the ripe fleshiness of black cherries and the sappy sweetness of liqueur washing over mild spicy qualities that are bolstered by wet stones, smoke and bacon toward the round finish.

Fidelitas' 2002 Meritage, "Optu" is Released

Charlie Hoppes has released his Fidelitas Meritage "Optu" 02 $38.00/$34.20 and it's finally in stock. We had scheduled it for our Avalon Big Reds Wine Club last month, but Charlie felt that the wine needed a bit more time in the cellar. We'll be sending the wine to the club soon, and have some for sale now. The previous vintage was rated 91 points by Wine Spectator, and we think this wine is better.

Tasting the wine with Charlie last month, we found it a huge, rich monster, similar to the 2001 Meritage with a bit more structure, a meaty, rich wine dominated by black cherry, raspberry, spice, and vanilla oak flavors, impeccably balanced. The wine is a blend of classic Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.

Basel Cellars' Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Wins Gold

I was a judge at the Northwest Wine Summit last week. The event is held yearly at the Timberline Lodge near the summit of Mt Hood. We tasted almost 1000 wines in a three day period, divided among four teams. It was a great opportunity to get a super-intense refresher on Northwest wine. One of my personal favorites was the first Estate wine from Basel Cellars, the Basel Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon "Pheasant Run Vineyard 02 $36/32.40.

Winemaker Trey Busch said: " We used a combination of two separate Cabernet Sauvignon blocks from the vineyard, Block 1 and Block 8. Only free-run juice was used for the final composition, and only the most expressive barrels made the final cut. The winemaker’s goal was to “trap” the terroir in each and every bottle. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon spent 22 months in 100% new oak—50% American, 30% French, and 20% Hungarian. Only 450 cases produced.

“I love the distinct flavor profile of our vineyard as compared to the rest of the Walla Walla Valley. This is no fruit bomb. Instead, it relies on its earthy structure to provide the framework for the rest of the wine. You can almost taste the soil. Still, the dark fruit flavors of plums and blackberries, along with green tea and mint, help flesh out the mid-palate. The finish is long and expressive, swimming in an ocean of silky tannins. I am very proud of our first Estate bottling."

I gave this wine a perfect score at the Wine Summit, and recommend it to all Cab lovers. It's something special.

Wonderful New White Wines for Warm Weather

Another flock of white wines has hit the market this week, and here are the best of the lot:

Chehalem INOX Chardonnay 04 $16.99/$15.29
The winemaker says: "INOX™ takes its name from the abbreviation of the French word for stainless steel, inoxidable. The wine was created differently from most Chardonnay you've had. We think we've succeeded in expressing the crisp, steely and fruit-rich side that we love about some old world chardonnays. What makes this possible is the use of exclusively Dijon clones, exceptionally well-suited to Oregon's cool climate and exhibiting a richness that does not depend on oak. Entirely tank fermented, without malolactic fermentation or lees contact, INOX™ screams of the hallmarks of a cool climate—brightness, pinpoint fruit, and explosive aromas and flavors."

Jezebel Blanc 04 $12.99/$11.69
From Peter Rosback (Sineann) and Aron Hess (Daedalus) this is their incredible value second label. The 04 Blanc is a blend of five grape varietals: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The wine is aromatic, complex and very drinkable.

The 04 Blanc combines a crisp, citrus zing with a scent of jasmine and white flowers and lush tropical fruit flavors. Both spicy Asian food and subtly flavored vegetarian cuisine are complemented by the Blanc. It's refreshing and perfect for lovers of white wines llike Evolution and Conundrum, at a wonderful price!

Francis Tannahill Gewurztraminer "Dragonfly" 03
Huge aromatics of lychee, rose, acacia blossoms, perfume, lavender, and spice with a palate that mimics the nose and continues with a balance of viscosity, purity, weightless, and power. The hint of sweetness carries the wine into a long finish that lingers on and on. I've been waiting for this wine to be released since the last vintage sold out in a week. I'm taking it home for special meals this summer. It is just so delicious to sip, sitting in the garden on a hot afternoon, listening to the bees buzz and the wind move through the trees.

Hamacher Chardonnay Cuvee Forets Diverses 01 $24.99/$22.49
Wine Advocate says: "This satin textured effort is broad, bright, and pure. Notes of sweet pears are intermiingled with popcorn and candied lemons in its detailed personality. This harmonious wine would have earned an outstanding 90 point score were it not for a faint trace of bitterness that was detected in its long finish. Drink over the next 4 years." 89 points.

Winemaker Eric Hamacher says: "The elegance of the '01 vintage comes through in the complexity of this wine. With naturally bright acidity balanced by the satiny richness of the barrel regime, admirers of full bodied, fruit driven wines appreciate the extra time that goes into the production of our wines. Pear, citrus and anise spice dominate the aromatics while mineral laden cream brullee and apples move the palate along. It's supple, broad, long and satisfying."

Hamacher "H" Chardonnay $14.99/$13.49
HIghly recommended. The nose has an enticing mixture of tart pippin apples, nutmeg and beeswax. The mouth feel is luscious, broad and long. This is an amazing value. Get it while you can! It's a blend of wine from the 02 and 03 vintages.

The winemaker says: "This is the first multi-vintage H chardonnay I have put together. It is roughly 50:50 2002 to 2003. The '02 lends good structure while the '03 adds wonderful richness. The '02 portion was in barrel for 18 months. The '03 remained in wood only half that time. As with the Hamacher label Chardonnay, the wine is comprised of the new, intensely flavored "Dijon clone" Chardonnay selections brought in from Burgundy and planted a decade ago. Each barrel was stirred by hand weekly for 11 months to incorporate the richness of the "lees" or yeast that settle to the bottom following the fermentation."

Hamacher Rose of Pinot noir $16.99/$15.29
This wine is what summer is all about! It holds a beautiful salmon color, and is richly textured from barrel fermentation and stirring the lees. It has great acidity and should be served COLD! It's built for slaking the summer heat and bringing smiles back to parched lips. Also a great wine with the mixed foods of Thanksgiving. Very limited.

Andrew Rich Sauvignon Blanc Les Vigneaux" Croft Vineyard 04
The wine possesses the Croft Vineyard’s signature notes of pineapple, guava, passion fruit, citrus, and just a hint of gooseberry. It is rich, round, with complex notes of mineral and fresh spring water in the finish. Perpetual favorite, sells out quickly. Classic summer sipper, with the sophistication to work well with fine cuisine.

Brooks Winery Riesling 04 $15.45/$13.90
Classic notes in the nose with a mandarin orange feel in the muth. Lots of fruit with a lenghty finish and good structure. Eola Hills, Stein, and Ana Vineyards. Every vintage, this popular white sells out super quick.


About Jean Yates

Jean Yates is owner of Avalon Wine, and has worked to promote Oregon and Washington wine for over 19 years through her wine shop, web site, and articles.

Jean previously worked in the computer industry and does most of the work on the Avalon website. She is a passionate photographer and many of the images on this site are hers


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Paley's Place and Dusky Goose Pinot noir- new article
Wine Spectator rates Oregon's 2002 vintage 97 points

New section- under $20 Pinot noirs
New Section- $20-$30 Oregon Pinot noir

November 4
Under $25
Big Red Wines
Local and Small Production Wines

November 2
Under $25 Pinots
New Releases

October 30
Oregon's 2004 Vintage- Shea Wine Cellars

October 29
Owen Sullivan's

October 20

October 18
WA Cult Big Reds
Mark Ryan,
Woodward, Abeja

October 5
New "Insider"
2004 Pinots

October 2005

September 20
Wine Spectator
New OR WA Wine Ratings

September 13
Andrew Will
2003 Red Blends
Champoux, etc

September 12
Owen Roe 2004
Ex Umbris, O'Reilly's

September 9
2004 Wines

September, 2005
Value Pinot noirs
720 Cellars, Ransom, Lumos, McKinlay, O'Reilly

September, 2005
New Releases-
Classic Reds

September, 2005
New Releases
Best Value Big Reds

September, 2005
New Releases-
OR Best Pinot noir

August 21, 2005
New Wine Releases

August 27
Pinot noir
New Wines

June 7, 2005
New Wine Releases
Dusky Goose, Alpine, Ribbon Ridge, Chehalem, Et Fille

May 27, 2005
Archery Arcus,
D'Vine Syrah,
Gypsy, Archery Summit, New Wines

May 12, 2005
New Wine Releases
& Sales
Staff recs, sales,
Wine Spec

May 7, 2005
New Wine Releases

Focus on Bergstrom Winery

May 5, 2005
New Wine Releases
2003 Pinots,
K-Vintners Special Cuvee,
More Summer White Wines

April 26, 2005
New Wine Releases
Focus on Hamacher Wines

April 22, 2005
New Wine Releases
2003 Pinot,
Sale Pinot,
White Wines

BY Jean Yates

April 2005
New Wine Releases Reviewed
by Jean Yates

March 2005
New Wine Releases Reviewed
by Jean Yates

March 2005
Oregon Pinot noir-
What to Expect in 2005

by Jean Yates

February 2005
Washington "Big Reds"
Cellar Selections
and Bargains

by Jean Yates



Avalon Wine


Rock the Cellar!
Music to Make Wine To

Oregon Wine Dinner:
The Asparagus Challenge

“The Washington Wine Industry
has a Friend in the Governor’s Mansion”

Beyond Expectations
On the
Pinot Noir Trail

It's Hip to Spit

Latitude 46° N

Belle Vallée Cellars

Champagne- Not just for Breakfast Anymore

Champagne Cocktails-
A Compendium of Recipes and Lore

Oregon Pinot noir- What to Expect in 2005

Dueling Crabcakes-
Mike Sherwood on
NW Food & Wine

Big Reds-
new Releases

New Winery-
A Photo Tour

Ken Wright's Tyrus Evan

Vacuvin vs Private Preserve

Veronique Drouhin

Dubrul Vyd has Own Winery

Washington's New Superstars

Stoller- 21st Century Vineyard

Sineann- A True NW WInery

Aren't We All

Cole on the
2004 Harvest

Charlie Hoppes
& Fidelitas
"Cream of the Crop"

Ciel du Cheval

New Superstars

Fall Mushrooms
and Northwest Wines

Nota Bene-
First Release of Wines from Another Boeing Guy

2002 Vintage-
and the
Climate Changes
that Brought It

Winemaker Interview
Trey Busch
Basel Cellars

Cool Climate

Is This the End of the Willamette Valley’s Great Vintages?

What's so Scary
about Screwcaps?

by Cole Danehower

Corral Creek Vineyard

Aging Wine

Saviah Cellars
A Sense of Place

Shea Vineyard
In depth

Weather and Winemaking


Canoe Ridge Vineyard

Cataclysm, Light
& Passion:

Washington Terroir,
soils, and Light

Oregon Pinot noir