Sunday, October 03, 2010

Walla Walla Wine Tasting - Day 3

Be sure to read about our Day 1 and Day 2 adventures first!

Day 3 started off much like Day 2, except that the boys rolled into town and had breakfast at a delightful little cafe called Someone's In The Kitchen. Good food, great coffee and stellar service! Even still, with the hangovers we were rockin' that morning, a trip to Starbuck's for more coffee was definitely in order. Dave and Des took off for home later that morning, so it was a nice 4 person group to go tasting, this time down south of town where most of the area's vineyards and wineries are located.

First stop was the beautiful Basel Cellars. What a gorgeous winery! It has to be seen to be believed...great wines too! Lisa was still a little hungover, so she didn't taste but Trish, Woody and I enjoyed their entire line. The 2006 Syrah was my favorite, and on sale to boot, so I grabbed 2 bottles. I could have sat in the sun and drank in the gorgeous view all day, but more wineries beckoned! Tasting fee: $5 (waived with my bottle purchase).

Next stop was on JB George Road, at Saviah Cellars. While the wines here I'm usually a big fan of, they only had 5 wines open to taste, and just one Syrah, "The Jack", which was corked! I couldn't believe they were pouring this wine, and that none of the annoying, overweight, drunks tasting there picked up on the flaw. TCA was slight, but quite noticeable all in our group. The 2008 Une Vallée was my favorite in the lineup, but overpriced. Sorry guys, but the experience there was not a good one for us. Tasting fee: $0.

Right next door to Saviah Cellars is Waters Winery and Gramercy Cellars. Another beautiful winery, and we spent much longer here than we had originally planned, just because it was so cool to hang out there. They excel in Syrah at Waters, and of the 4 on offer (Columbia Valley, Loess, Forgotten Hills, and Pepper Bridge), my favorite was the Forgotten Hills. Amazingly funky and barnyard-y, the wine was delicious! Unfortunately, the 21 Grams red wine that is a high-end project by Waters and Gramercy together, was not being tasted. Tasting fee: $5.

Sharing the same facility is Gramercy Cellars, which requires a tasting appointment (we didn't have one). However, we were lucky enough to catch Matt, who was running the tastings, after a group left (one of the group members had THE WORST comb-over I've ever seen, starting from his neckline and going up over the top of his head. Truly amazing...), and Matt gave us a tasting appt. for a couple hours later.

We motored on, in search of Northstar Winery, and their much-lauded Merlot. I think they were having a wine club event or something, because the place was packed. Very cool tasting bar too. Anyway, the wines were all good, but nothing really stood out for me. The Merlot's were both tasting great, but a bit too high in price for me at that point. Tasting fee: $10.

Back to Gramercy Cellars for our tasting. Gramercy is another new winery in the area that is making a big splash, and rightly so. I had previously tasted their wines, and met winemaker/founder Greg Harrington, at Storyteller Wine Company in Portland, so I was no stranger, but wow, all of the wines blew me away. We tasted the new releases: 2008 Syrah, 2008 "Third Man" Grenache blend, 2008 "Inigo Montoya" (as in, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.") Tempranillo, and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. I loved the Cab best, but since I already had a bottle (thanks Trish!), I picked up the Third Man. Regrettably, the John Lewis Reserve Syrah was not yet released. Tasting fee: $0.

Our next stop was Trust Cellars, over on Merlot Dr. Nice little tasting room, with an sweet view of the Blue Mtns. And of course, great wines! My favorite was the 2008 Walla Walla Valley Syrah, and I brought home a bottle. Tasting fee: $0.

About this time, I got a call from Gramercy Cellars, advising me that I had left my debit card there (oops!) so we decided to head back, but not before making a final winery stop at Va Piano Vineyards. While the winery was pretty cool, there was a fly infestation that was annoying, and the wines while good, were probably not tasting so well for us, after trying so many prior. At any rate, I wasn't very impressed and didn't have any money anyway, since my debit card was over at Gramercy. So we tasted through quickly, and left. Tasting fee: $0.

Back to camp to freshen up, and the out to dinner at T. Maccarone's for an excellent meal and killer bottle of Adamant Cellars Syrah ($28), and then to the Green Lantern Tavern, known locally as "The Green", or just "Green". Best bar in Walla Walla. Lisa schooled some guys at pool while the rest of us looked on, and enjoyed our drinks. We tried to go back to Sapolil Cellars for Syrah and live music, but they were closed, so we called it a night.

Headed home the following afternoon, after one hell of a chilly night camping. We broke camp, loaded up the Disco and rolled west, stopping at Reininger Winery again, to taste through their line up and buy some more Rosé. The drive home was long but interesting, what with all the wind turbines and the river, but long it was. We're planning to head back for Holiday Barrel Tasting the first weekend in December. Should be a great time!