Wowla Wowla

I am bummed. I really really wanted to Walla Walla this year and (finally) visit some of my favorite wineries and discover some new favorites. But I just can’t make it happen until 2014.

Fortunately, Washington has come to me in a couple of cases, with a visit from the inimitable Charles Smith and an amazing trade tasting. And while pinot gris/grigio from Boomtown, Canoe Ridge and the aforementioned Mr. Smith showed how promising that grape is in the Evergreen State, it was the reds that dazzled.

Starting with a winery that was new to me. The 2007 Corliss Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) was large and in charge from the get-go, but it was the marvelously sturdy structure and near-endless finish that wowed and dazzled me most. Corliss’ 2007 Columbia Valley Bordeaux Blend ($65) was every bit its equal, with everything a “big red” should possess, including all of the above plus elegance.

LeonettiThese wines were so profound that they almost overshadowed my first encounter with Leonetti. Almost. The 2010 cab ($90) had gorgeous black fruit and wonderful depth, while the 2010 merlot ($75) was a classic: bold but supple, with multiple layers of flavors and textures.

Mark Ryan was pouring three wines at the event, all dandy. I especially liked the 2010 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($52), rich and rustic, with fruit and earth intermingling endlessly.

Two more wineries introduced themselves in spectacular fashion The 2009 FigginsFiggins Walla Walla Estate Bordeaux Blend ($85) was the very definition of harmony, the firmish tannins integrating beautifully with gobs of delicious dark red fruit.

And perhaps the day’s foremost bargain was another blend, the 2010 Pomum Yakima Valley “Shya” ($38), with hearty dark goodness and lovely minerality. Yum.

I felt fortunate indeed to be able to taste these rockin’ reds. And frustrated that I cannot check out these wineries, and the people behind all this spectacular juice, in person.

Next year for sure.

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