Fun Cabernet/Syrah Blend From the Walla Walla Valley

Today’s Story: K Vintners

K Vintners was established by Charles Smith as his first winery in December 2001. Located at the base of the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla, Washington, K Vintners produces small lot single vineyard Syrah and field blends of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Viognier which are all picked by hand, fermented using only natural yeasts, and basket pressed. Though Charles spent a lot of time during his developmental years traveling throughout the state of California and grew an appreciation for wine, his real passion for the beverage spawned during his time living in Scandinavia for roughly a decade. As a manager for rock bands and concert tours, Charles spent a great deal of time wining and dining before moving back to the United States in 1999. On a journey through Walla Walla in late 1999, Charles met a young winemaker who shared his passion for Syrah and Charles was convinced to move to the small city to make his own wine. In December 2001, Charles released 330 cases of his first wine, the 1999 K Syrah.

I previously wrote about K Vintners when I reviewed the 2016 The Creator back in February 2020.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Roma

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah; 14.5% ABV

The 2016 Roma is deep ruby in color. I didn’t have a decanter at the moment, so I instead let this open up in the glass for an hour then drank it over several hours. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of blackberry, blueberry, plum, tobacco, pencil shavings, black licorice, charred green herbs, crushed rock, chocolate, and mild baking spice. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of black cherry, plum, black raspberry, sweet tobacco, black olive, slate, mocha, and a hint of mint. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, high alcohol, and a long finish. 752 cases produced.

Price: $50 (I paid $43). I think this offers very solid value and is also fun to try given the blend. The balance, complexity, intensity, and length are all very solid and this wine continues to evolve with each passing moment in the glass. I’d certainly buy this again.

High Quality Washington Bordeaux Blend That Drinks Like Left Bank Bordeaux

Today’s Story: L’Ecole No. 41

L’Ecole is a family-owned winery established by Baker and Jean Ferguson in 1983 in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State. L’Ecole is the third-oldest winery in Walla Walla and today is under guide of 2nd generation owners Marty and Megan Clubb (Megan is the daughter of Baker and Jean) and their children Riley and Rebecca. Marty and Megan moved from San Francisco to Walla Walla in 1989 where Marty took on the role of manager and winemaker at L’Ecole, while Riley and Rebecca remain involved. Marty, alongside Norm McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar, partnered to expand Seven Hills Vineyard in 1997 and develop SeVein (1,800 adjacent acres) in the mid-2000s and are largely considered pioneers of winemaking in the Walla Walla Valley.

In addition to their two estate vineyards Ferguson and Seven Hills, L’Ecole contracts with a number of respected winegrowers throughout the Walla Walla and Columbia Valleys. The Ferguson and Seven Hills Vineyards are certified sustainable, as is the Pepper Bridge Vineyard where L’Ecole has been sourcing fruit since the early 1990s. Marty and his team have a pretty tight grip on viticulture not only in their estate vineyards but in those they source from, practicing aggressive pruning, drip irrigation, and shoot thinning to produce wines that are vibrant and expressive but show their unique place. During the winemaking process, Marty strives to create wines that are expressive and highly aromatic. He and the team handle fruit very delicately and use gravity flow, limited adjustments during fermentation, gentle racking, and minimal fining and filtration at bottling.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Ferguson Vineyard Bordeaux Blend

62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec; 14.5% ABV

The 2016 Ferguson Vineyard is opaque deep purple/ruby and nearly black at the core. This deserves a good 4 hour decant, with the nose showcasing aromas of blackcurrant, redcurrant, blackberry, fig, cigar box, pencil shavings, forest floor, wet slate, espresso, and black peppercorn. Once in the mouth, the wine displays notes of crème de cassis, black cherry, dusty blueberry, anise, tobacco, potting soil, graphite, dark chocolate, and charred oak. This is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high but tightly knit tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $50. Really good value. The quality is remarkable and if tasting this blind I would call it a high quality Left Bank Bordeaux. Pair with prime ribeye, garlic/rosemary roasted lamb, or venison.

Unique Blend from Walla Walla

Today’s Story: K Vintners

K Vintners was established by Charles Smith as his first winery in December 2001. Located at the base of the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla, Washington, K Vintners produces small lot single vineyard Syrah and field blends of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Viognier which are all picked by hand, fermented using only natural yeasts, and basket pressed. Though Charles spent a lot of time during his developmental years traveling throughout the state of California and grew an appreciation for wine, his real passion for the beverage spawned during his time living in Scandinavia for roughly a decade. As a manager for rock bands and concert tours, Charles spent a great deal of time wining and dining before moving back to the United States in 1999. On a journey through Walla Walla in late 1999, Charles met a young winemaker who shared his passion for Syrah and Charles was convinced to move to the small city to make his own wine. In December 2001, Charles released 330 cases of his first wine, the 1999 K Syrah.

Today’s Wine: 2016 The Creator

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah; 13.5% ABV

The 2016 The Creator is medium to deep ruby in color and moderately transparent. After some decanting, this wine showcases aromas of black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry, french style green beans, green bell pepper, ground black pepper, underbrush, coffee grounds, black olive, and smoke. The nose is rather herbaceous and earthy with fruit not necessarily leading the show. Once in the mouth, the wine displays notes of plum, blackberry, black raspberry, pomegranate, tobacco, forest floor, dried underbrush, herbal tea leaf, and flint. This is full-bodied with high acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $50. Very pleasantly surprised with this wine, which offers a drinking experience I will remember for a long time thanks especially to the very unique nose. This is a supremely balanced wine for its youth and the velvety mouthfeel and lower than usual alcohol makes for an easy drinker. Pair this with herby red sauce pasta, a good burger, or veal.