The Salut! Wine Club

Many wineries in Walla Walla lay claim to award-winning and microsopically brief histories, including Spring Valley Vineyards.  Their first marketed vintage was in 1999, and they’ve already carved a wide swath of 90+ point scores for their six estate-only wines.  After the loss of the owners’ son and original winemaker Devin Derby in 2004, winemaker Serge Laville took the reigns and honorably maintained the top quality of this assortment. 

Spring Valley Frederick Label

Named after the son of Uriah and father of owner Shari

This year the blend is 54% Cab Sauv, 27% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, a traditional Bordeaux-style blend.  The winery says:

 “The nose is seductive and fresh with scents of licorice, cassis, and rose petal. The mouth is an explosion of summer fruit: plum, dry cherry, blackberry, and cassis. The tannins are fine grained, concentrated and soft. The acidity keeps the wine in perfect balance and showcases the terrior of Spring Valley Vineyard. Notes of roasted coffee and vanilla linger on the long finish.”

While the Uriah blend often holds the spotlight and earns favor from publications (the Uriah blend will probably age longer and exhibits a more elegant flow), it’s the Frederick that, to me, represents the more vibrant and full character that gives Washington wines a more youthful vigor and ability to be enjoyed (without quilt) a lot earlier than cellar-able California and Bordeaux examples.

Rich and chewy, with a brightness to the cherry and mulberry fruit that balances well against hints of wet earth and cedar as the finish persists expressively. There’s nice balance and length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and others. Best from 2010 through 2016. 3,000 cases made. – Wine Spectator 92 Points

This is a well rounded and beautifully structured red, and a great represenation of the style Washington has to offer.  The more youthful and full fruit will pair with spice rubs over hearty meat cuts or roasted fowl.

This wine is regularly sold for $49.99′

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Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.

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The Salut! Wine Club

Perfect wine doesn’t have a single definition.  There will never be a machine that can turn out ‘perfect’ wines.  There are too many variables and it is the uniqueness of each artful release that brings forth a worthy story rather than a homogenous, measurable string of proper qualities. 

That being said, it is possible to hedge bets toward fantastic releases.  It requires attention to a number of variables:

  • Buy the best grapes available from the areas most skilled grape growers (a step that requires longstanding relationships as well)
  • Buy the most technologically advanced equipment and finest traditional barrels
  • Enlist the help of the finest and most experienced oenologists, practiced using the grapes found in your final release

saggi_90This is the basis for Long Shadows Vintners. 

Founder Allen Shoup has earned an influential placement at the pinnacle of Washington’s wine industry.   He began with humble beginnings at Gallo in California and rose through vast achievement to CEO of Stimson Lane (owner of Chateau Ste. Michelle & Columbia Crest), Washington’s largest wine company.  With his broad assets of professional relationships, prime properties and ample finances, he’s been able to pair Washington’s best grapes with the world’s finest talent to create tremendously well-made expressions of our Northwest’s best.

Through these efforts come the 2006 rendition of Saggi, the Long Shadows “Super Tuscan” style blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Shoup has invited the talents of the Tuscan winemaking father and son team of Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari to craft the wine using grapes grown in the Horse Heaven Hills and Alder Ridge vineyards.

The added bonus of this wine is an additional year of age in the bottle.  The 2007 has been released, but the silky smoothness of the 2006 is showing through with increasing balance and contemplative layers.

Dark cherry aromas and flavors combine with a hint of nutmeg in this Super Tuscan style blend. An elegant entry in the front of the mouth reveals refined tannins with focused concentration, enhanced by the wine’s silky mouth feel and lengthy finish.

This wine is regularly sold for $36.99, but is available to wine club members for only $31.99!

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Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.

The Salut! Wine Club

There’s a new tradition in my extended family clan.  For decades, my many divorced and remarried parents and brothers have created turmoil when holidays roll around and everyone vies for “who get’s Christmas” or Thanksgiving or Xmas eve.  Finally, my father and stepmother decided to declare Christmas Eve as their PrimeRibRoast3night, for the first time about 4 years ago.  They invited everyone, and when the night finally arrived I was the only of 4 sons and two other couples to arrive.  It was the three of us, set to enjoy a 10 lb. prime rib roast and the cherished set of three bottles of wines I had brought.

These were three bottles from Beresan Winery of Walla Walla, including the limited Carmenere, a benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon, and their pinnacle Stone River blend, all created from the care and expertise of winery owner Tom Walliser and winemaker Tom Glase, whom I had met in the preceding year.

BeresanI had been fully impressed by both the scores and flavors of these rich, full-bodied, massive-fruit-filled and very balanced age-worthy wines.  Of 4 releases available for retail sale, none had a score below 91, and for several years there were few wines that didn’t reach this benchmark.  But that holiday we established a tradition…I am now the sole guest for a Beresan & Prime Rib dinner each Christmas Eve at my father’s house. 

The match is perfect.  And this Stone River blend will not fail to impress.  Age it for many years if you wish, but it’s ready to go now, with impressive balance for such enormous body and fruit.  Why wait? 

This wine is regularly sold for $36.99, but is available to wine club members for only $32.99!

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Wine Info Links

Visit the Beresan Winery website
About Cabernet Franc at Wikipedia
Balboa Winery is Beresan’s Winemaker Tom Glase’s personal winery
Complete a short puzzle and match the cuts of beef to the cow!

Great Food Pairings

Perfect Prime Rib from TexasBarbeques.com
Stracotto (beef & red wine) from Salut! Wine Co.
Andouille Sausage & Chicken Stew from beansmeats.com

Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.

The Salut! Wine Club

Enjoyment of wine can be a surface-oriented pursuit, but wine appreciation as a hobby brings forth a more contemplative and rewarding journey.  One of the paths wine afficianados can follow is discovery of new, pioneering winemaking methods, grapes, regions and personalities — and we here in the Northwest are living in the heydey of winemaking pioneers.

Forgeron-LabelOnly about 30 years ago did Washington and Oregon start to become “real” winemaking regions.  California has had 5 times as long to gather expertise and to set traditions.  Europe’s wine regions have had 10 times longer.   So as Washington builds from today’s scientific knowledge, investment and past trial & error, the winemakers here have no traditions to restrict new ideas or dreams.  It is with past expertise but new ideas that Forgeron has brought us the limited and outstanding 2006 Roussanne!  (91 points, Wine & Spirits)

Roussanne has been around a long time, creating white wines in France’s Rhone Valley.  The large, floral character can create both delicate and intense wines, and is most often blended with Marsanne and/or Viognier to balance the dynamics.   It takes winemaking and grape-growing mastery to bring balance to Roussanne alone, and few wineries even attempt the challenge. 

Thank goodness the ladies of Forgeron Cellars in Walla Walla (including French winemaker Marie-Eve) have brought us this delicious wine, even in this extremely limited run.  You’ll enjoy cheese-pairing-ready flavors of melon, mild apple, mango and citrus.   These are the last remaining bottles of the first vintage of this successful run.  The winery has sold out and is already selling the more youthful 2008.  You’ll be able to appreciate a more beautifully aged example representing ponderous steps on a tradition-building journey that has only just begun in Washington state.

This wine is regularly sold for $21.99, but is available to wine club members for only $19.99!

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Wine Info Links

Visit the Forgeron Cellars winery website
About Roussanne at Wikipedia
Watch a video interview of winemaker Marie-Eve and tour the winery!
Visit the official site of France’s Rhone Valley

Great Food Pairings

Butternut Squash Soup from Cooks.com
Curried Stone Crab with Hot Marmalade Dip from FL-Seafood.com
Creating a Cheese Plate from The Splendid Table and The Cheese Primer

Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.

The Salut! Wine Club

Rick Small’s Walla Walla winery, Woodward Canyon, was one of the first to showcase Washington grapes and winemaking talent.  When we opened Salut! Wine Co. in 2002, we placed his 1999 Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon into a Washington vs. California Cabernet tasting event.   We were proud of our state when the 1999 Cab beat Grgich Hills and Ch. Ste. Jean’s Cing Cepages for the favorite wine of the night!

20081120110513_detailtnThe 1999 Artist Series was a hard wine to beat.  We tasted and waited as the 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 couldn’t quite reach the heights of what had become a tasting classic for the shop.  In 2004, a devastating freeze added yet another twist and wrinkle.  2005 didn’t quite hit the spot yet, even though it received great scores.  What can I say — we’re very picky.  So with eager anticipation we awaited the 2006.  Alas, we have a winner! 

The 2006 has already garnered a 91 point score from Wine Enthusiast magazine, with this description:

“Predominately Sagemoor vineyard, along with some Champoux and estate grapes, inclucing some old vine fruit and 13% Syrah. Somehow, the Artist Series Cabernet has an open softness that seems more like Merlot; it’s lush and approachable, sleek and liquorous, dotted with malted milk/chocolate highlights around deep back cherry fruit. The aromas are lovely, though at first taste it sags a bit in the late going; the fruit falls off and chocolaty notes take over. The tannins have a little green tea flavor”

The characteristics are truly representative of the Northwest version of well-made Cabernet — great to drink younger than California versions, more representative of the terroir and vintage, and without the bullying power of tannins and fullness sought in production down south.   This is not a California Cab, nor is it trying to be.  It isn’t a fine Bordeaux and doesn’t need to be.  It’s a reflection of a budding new world-class wine producing region.

Drink up the structure and more relaxed lushness of this delicious release.  Follow along through the years with later releases of this wine as Rick Small continues to demonstrate how each vintage is different, how great vintages can bring truly wonderful wines, and the heights to which Washington can leap when talent, weather and terroir combine so well.

This wine is available at Salut! Wine Co. for $42.99, or available to wine club members for only $38.69!

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Wine Info Links

Visit the Woodward Canyon Website
Read all about the wines of this region at the Walla Walla Wine Alliance
See other art by painter Tyrell Collins
About Cabernet at Wikipedia
Check this blog for Walla Walla historical photos and great links
Read some Walla Walla history trivia at the County’s website

Great Food Pairings

Braised Beef & Mushrooms from Eating Well
Check out the new Chocolate grilling rubs from Diva Chocolates
Tandoori Chicken at Answers.com (an obscure pairing, but trust me)

Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.