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Sineann's Peter Rosback


Three Rivers Winemaker Holly Turner made the World Class
Three Rivers Champoux Cab



Rick Small, Woodward Canyon



Chris Camarda, Andrew Will's winamker and owner

New NW Wine Releases
Classic Reds
New Releases for Fall 2005
For August 21, 2005

by Jean Yates

Sineann Old Vine Zinfandel 04 $36/$32.40
There's not much Zinfandel planted in the NW, and Lonnie Wright's "The Pines" Vineyard is definitely the source of the best. Part of the vineyard is relatively new (and Sineann makes a "Pines" Zinfandel from it) but the mother load is the part of the vineyard that's about 100 years old, planted by Lonnie's family and miraculously still producing fruit. Peter Rosback makes his Old Vine Zinfandel from this oldest part of the vineyard.

The Old Vine Zinfandel is Sineann's flagship wine, the one that everyone wants (although the Sineann Block One Cab holds place #1 in my heart). In 2004, the crop was small, and growing conditions were quite good. The wine is intense, black, immensely concentrated. Perhaps the age of the vines helps, but this wine has wonderful balanced acidity, making the wine pairable with food. It's the equal of the wonderful 2002 and 2003 vintages, but available in smaller quantity.

Three Rivers Cabernet Sauvignon Champoux Vineyard 02 $34.61/$38.45
Was sent to our June NW Big Reds Club, and so many members have commented on it, we are recommending it as a cellar selection for serious wine collectors.

The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from one of Washington State's best vineyards, Champoux Vineyard. Since the fabulous Andrew Will Champoux 02 is sold out, we wanted to point out this delicious wine made from the same vineyard's fruit. While not as good as the Andrew WIll (which is also over $50 a bottle), winemaker Holly Turner shows her talents in this big, delightfully expressive wine. The previous vintage received 90 points from Wine Spectator.

The Three Rivers Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is intensely concentrated, showing exemplary Walla Walla Cabernet varietal fruit expression. Vivid aromas of sweet black cherries, black currants, toasted coffee bean, and vanilla are followed by flavors of candied blackberries, cassis, sweet earth, tar, and black cherry fruit. A suave, splendid effort by Holly that takes this winery a big step forward. Age able for up to ten years, but enjoyable now.

Woodward Canyon Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 02
The 2002 “Old Vines” Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and powerful, made from vines planted back in the early 70's located in the Champoux and Sagemoor Vineyards, both located on benches overlooking the Columbia River on the Washington side. Rick Small always makes an exquisite, complex, and cellarable "Old Vine" and this is no exception. The 2002 vintage was just about perfect in eastern WA, and the wine shows it. Released August 2005, this wine will cellar well for up to 15 years.

Rick Small says: "This 2002 “Old Vines” Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and powerful successor to the 2001 “Old Vines”. The 2002 vintage was warmer than 2001 and this wine reflects that. Flavors of ripe black fruits and cassis marry with spicy oak and vanilla. The color is dark purple and the flavor is concentrated, rich and long; the texture is supple and silky but still the wine has fantastic grip. This red wine will benefit greatly from additional cellaring and with proper storage should last fifteen years or more."

We highly recommend this classic Cabernet Sauvignon. RIck has worked with the vineyard sites for many years and makes a complex, ageable, world class wine from these world class vineyards.

Woodward Canyon Estate Red 02 $55

Woodward Canyon has a mature Estate vineyard, and this Estate Red shows Rick Small’s distinctive winemaking style. A wine to age, this vintage has an unusually high amount of Cabernet Franc, lending a meaty, densely concentrated quality to the wine. Pie spices, vanilla, and toasted coffee bean in the nose are complemented by big black fruit and berry flavors, seamless tannins, and tremendous potential for longer term cellaring.

Wine Spectator 90 points : “Cabernet Franc and Merlot in almost equal parts are supported by a smidge of Cabernet Sauvignon in this firm red. A distinct minty note runs through the rich berry and currant fruit, hinting at sage as it persists nicely on the chewy finish. Best from 2007 through 2012. “

Rick Small, owner and winemaker, says:

“The Woodward Canyon Estate Red is produced from the finest lots of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc from our vineyard. The Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard produced less than two tons of fruit per acre.”

“The wine was fermented in small, open top tanks with native yeast and was punched down or pumped over two or three times a day. After pressing in our basket press, this wine went straight to new French chateau barrels for maturation. In early August, the wine was racked from barrel, assembled, and bottled unfiltered and unfined later that same month.”

“With such low yields, the resulting wine is deeply concentrated with black fruits and cassis. The nose leaps from the glass. Spice and vanilla from new oak integrate beautifully with cabernet-dominated fruit. The texture is supple and the finish is rich and long. With proper cellaring, this wine should age for ten years from vintage. “

Andrew Will Estate "Two Blondes" Red 02 $49.95/$44.95
Parker categorizes only four or five Washington wineries as "Excellent" in his most recent book. Andrew Will is one of them. Winemaker and owner Chris Camarda makes exquisite wines, in very limited amounts, and until now, from purchased fruit. With his acquisition of an Estate vineyard in Zillah, in the heart of the Yakima wine region, he moves much of his attention to the development of his own source of grapes.

The Two Blondes Vineyard is next door to Sheridan Vineyard, whose grapes are used by Chris and other famous winemakers. The very high quality of the Sheridan site's grapes was unexpected when the first wines from the site were released in 2001. The fruit is stunning, making rich, nuanced reds that get better with each vintage. Chris's Two Blondes Vineyard is younger than next door Sheridan. His initial planting was destroyed by cold, and he's taken much care in deciding how the vineyard is set up. He works with satellite imaging of the site and remote sensors that allow him to check conditions via computer.

Knowing the energy Chris has expended on Two Blondes, and his super winemaking skills, we are so excited to offer this first vintage of what will hopefully be an annual "Estate" release. The wine is a blend of red grapes grown on the site. Chris likes to work with a site, rather than a varietal (note that, except for Sorella, he makes wines named for the single vineyard their several different varietals come from).

We'll be cellaring some Two Blondes each year, and plan a vertical tasting in about eight years, when the first vintages should be at their peak. This is a wine for the long term, one that will reward wine lovers and provide a fascinating reference standard to future vintages.



Osoyoos LaRose 01 $33.29/$36.99 is the pet project of the owner of wine industry giant Vincor. Believing that British Columbia can make world class Bordeaux style wines, no expense has been spared in the creation of this winery. Sixty acres of vineyards were planted near Lake Osoyoos in the Southern Okanagan Valley, just north of the US border. A highly respected winemaker, Pascal Madevon, was brought in from Bordeaux to make the wine. Noted Bordelaise viticulturist, Alain Sutre, has overseen the vineyards since 1999.

The wine’s name, Osoyoos Larose, reflects the partners’ roots in France and Canada. Osoyoos refers to the location of the vineyards in the Okanagan Valley, on the mountain slopes above Lake Osoyoos. Larose is derived from one of Groupe Taillan’s most prestigious estates in Bordeaux, the Deuxième Cru, or second growth, Château Gruaud-Larose, which reflects the centuries-old winemaking traditions of the world-famous wine region.

Osoyoos Larose wines are made in the town of Oliver in an 11,500 square foot winemaking center specifically designed and constructed adjacent to Vincor International’s large winery. The wine is made extremely carefully, to protect the grapes and fermenting wines during vinification. The winery utilizes gravity flow, and avoids mechanical pumping where possible. The equipment in the Osoyoos Larose winery was sourced exclusively for its own wines under the direction of Groupe Taillan’s consultant, Alain Sutre. The facility employs some of the most advanced technology in the world.

The first release from the winery, the Osoyoos LaRose 01, is a wine with layers of flavor, heralded by a rich ripe strawberry scent in the nose. The wine has a firm, fine grained tannic structure, with plenty of fruit to sustain aging. Chocolate, green olive, vanilla, white pepper and smoke notes emerge from an overall black cherry and black berry flavor. Drinking well after several years of cellaring, this wine is the dark horse of the "Big Reds" category. We were so impressed with the wine, we're sending it to our "Big Reds" Club this month. A winery you'll want to know about, the wine compares to Meritage from the NW at much higher prices.


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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