Category Archives: White Wine

College Cellars Muscat Ottonel

Muscat Ottonel Impulse

College Cellars of Walla Walla 2016 Muscat Ottonel

Fellow wine lovers, College Cellars of Walla Walla continues to top the charts at big-time national wine competitions- this time it’s their Muscat Ottonel. You may remember that we featured their Viognier and Rosé last year, but here is a quick refresher on the winery. These wines are made by winemaking students at the Walla Walla Community College, under the instruction of top industry leaders, and advisement from Walla Walla’s biggest names such as Rick Small of Woodward Canyon, and Gary and Chris Figgins of Leonetti/Figgins. The wine program and today’s featured Muscat have been written about a number of times by Andy Perdue, and you can read a recent article by clicking here.

College Cellars of Walla Walla 2016 Muscat Ottonel $16.99

The College Cellars Muscat Ottonel was awarded Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which is among the top 3 most prestigious wine competitions in the nation. Right now, just five cases have made it over the mountains from Walla Walla, and we are offering them first come first serve. It’s a single vineyard Muscat from Red Boar Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley, and it’s done in an effervescent and off-dry (medium-sweet) style. The wine features a playful nose of stone fruits, starburst chews, and citrus zest. It tickles your palate with its lightly sparkling nature, and tastes of ripe peaches, candied lemons, and hints of pears.

 Click here to order the College Cellars of Walla Walla Muscat Ottonel

College Cellars of Walla Walla 2016 Muscat Ottonel

College Cellars of Walla Walla 2016 Muscat Ottonel

Region: Walla Walla Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): Red Boar Vineyard

Grape(s): Muscat Ottonel

Drinkability: Now to 2018

Sweetness: Off-Dry, Medium-Sweet, 6% Residual Sugar

Alcohol: 9% by volume

Drink This if you Like:

Press: Double Gold – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Food Pairing: Spicy Asian Cuisine, Fresh Salads, Blue Cheeses

Availability: 5 cases

Cheers

Yashar

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris Impulse

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris, Columbia Gorge, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, it’s a nice sunny day today and I’m in the mood for a refreshing white wine. You don’t see me featuring many Washington State Pinot Gris, but when I find a good one I commit to it. I think the only two we’ve offered on Impulse have been the Nine Hats Pinot Gris and the Ross Andrew Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris, and it’s even been a while since we’ve worked with either of those.

Personally, I’ve been a fan of Ross Andrew Mickel’s wines for a decade now. He used to be the assistant winemaker at Betz Family Winery, back in the early 2000’s, and is an all around great guy. When I was working at Matthews Cellars in 2006/2007, Ross would occasionally come by to borrow a piece of equipment. We were among the few in Woodinville with top of the line winemaking gear back then, so many smaller wineries would come to our facility to use our stuff. Because of this, I had several good opportunities to chat with Ross, even work with him a bit in the cellar. I always found him to be very knowledgeable and passionate about wine.

Ross Andrew Winery 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris $18.99 (Regularly $24)

Sitting at an elevation of 1,370 feet in the cooler climate of the Columbia Gorge region of Washington State, Celilo Vineyard is well suited for the production of refreshing and crisp white wines. Ross Andrew has been doing a bang-up job with Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris for several years now, truly expressing its sense of place. It comes from old vines, some older than 43 years, and they make certain to hand-harvest amidst the cool of the morning, so as to keep the newly picked grapes as fresh as possible.

Ross Andrew ages the Celilo Pinot Gris in stainless steel vessels for 4 months, with no oak, so as to maintain the bright and vibrant nature of the grape. During that time, the wine is kept on its lees, so as add a supplementary layer of complexity. It’s an invigorating wine, with just a hint of sweetness in the middle, and a clean dry finish. Starting with clean and pretty fruits of anjou pear, Tuscan melon, white peach, lemon zest and tangerine peel, it moves towards hints of hazelnut, kiwi, and freshly plucked jasmine. The palate has a little bit of residual sugar, which makes for a beautifully viscous wine, and everything is very nicely balanced. An excellent companion to light seafood dishes such as prawns, ceviche, and oysters.

Click here to order the Ross Andrew Celilo Pinot Gris

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris

Region: Columbia Gorge

Vineyard(s): Celilo Vineyard

Grape(s): Pinot Gris

Aging: 4 Months on Less in Stainless Steel

Drinkability: Now through 2018

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 13.8% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Nine Hats Pinot Gris, Alsatian Pinot Gris

Food Pairing: Prawns, Ceviche, Oysters

Production: 950 cases

Cheers

Yashar

Sparkman Cellars Kindred Chardonnay

Kindred Impulse

Sparkman Cellars 2014 “Kindred” Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, I first met Chris Sparkman back in 2006, when I was working at Matthews Cellars and he was the General Manager of The Waterfront Restaurant, now Aqua by El Gaucho. That same year, he debuted Sparkman Cellars, and we did a collaboration winemaker dinner for the Auction of Washington Wines. With his years of experience in the food and beverage business, and having Mark Ryan McNeilly as his consulting winemaker for the first few years, he was well on his way to success.

Sparkman Cellars 2014 “Kindred” Chardonnay $17.99

Now Sparkman Cellars has a value line of wines called “Kindred”, and the 2014 Chardonnay offers a lot of bang for the buck. It’s a nice, fat, buttery, Chardonnay with a healthy amount of oak. The fruit is sourced from Oasis, Olsen, and Stillwater Creek Vineyards, then aged for 18 months in 27% new French oak barrels. It tastes of fresh apricots, yellow apples, and hints of hazelnuts and straw, finishing with a rich and creamy texture.

Sparkman made just 334 cases of their Kindred Chardonnay

Click here to order the Sparkman Kindred Chardonnay

Sparkman Kindred Chardonnay

Sparkman Kindred Chardonnay

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): 60% Oasis, 33% Olsen, 7% Stillwater Creek

Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay

Aging: 27% New French Oak Barrels for 18 Months

Drinkability: Now through 2018

Body: Medium-Full

Alcohol: 14.5% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Disruption Chardonnay, La Crema

Food Pairing: Scallops, Pasta with Cream Sauce, Chicken

Production: 334 cases

Red Car Chardonnay

Sonoma Impulse

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Fellow wine lovers, happy new year! It seems Sonoma has caught my attention as of late, thus we have an outstanding deal on a beautiful Chardonnay today. I found a Chardonnay by Red Car, whose Pinot Noir we so recently enjoyed, which has just a few years of age on it. It’s still rather fresh, but has had the time to build a bit of extra character.

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $25.99 (Regularly $40)

The Red Car 2012 Chardonnay received a score of 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. They describe it as , “Blended from several amazing vineyard sites, including Ritchie and Hawk Hill… It shines in exotic florals and a creamy mouthfeel followed by a dry, bright finish of fresh-squeezed grapefruit and tangerine. This is one to enjoy entirely on its own or with a myriad of appetizers.”

It’s aged completely in French oak barrels, 10% of which is new, giving it just a smidge of vanilla, toast, and oak flavors, coexisting nicely with hints of butter and smoky flint notes, underneath a layer of lemon custard, white currant, and yellow apple. The coastal nature of this charming wine means that it comes with a lower alcohol percentage of 13.7, while bearing crisp acidity and clean minerality from the mid-palate to the finish.

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Click here to order the Red Car Chardonnay

Region: Sonoma Coast

Vineyard(s): Weeks, Ritchie, Hawk Hill, Zephyr Farms

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Aging: 100% French Oak, 10% New

Drinkability: Now through 2017

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 13.7% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Flowers, Failla, La Crema

Press: 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Food Pairing: Cheeses

Production: 73 barrels

Cheers

Yashar

Ambassador Boushey Sauv Blanc

Ambassador Impulse:

Ambassador Winery 2015 Boushey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley

Fellow wine lovers, it’s no secret that I’m rather fond of Boushey Vineyard. I firmly hold the opinion that it’s one of the best vineyards in Washington State, and if you’ve had the wines, chances are you know what I’m talking about. Owners Dick and Luanne Boushey are meticulous stewards of the land, and their passion for what they do shines through immediately when you converse with either of them. Aside from knowing exactly how to farm their land, they’re also very particular about what wineries they will sell grapes to, making certain to only sell to the best of them. I’ve witnessed first hand, as they regularly collect and taste wines which incorporate their fruit year after year to ensure they are up to par.

Ambassador Winery 2015 Boushey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc $21.99

This is the first year that Ambassador Winery has made a Sauvignon Blanc, thus the production is a mere 300 cases. If you’re not familiar with Ambassador, they’re a smaller winery on Red Mountain, established approximately 10 years ago. Their own estate Red Mountain vineyards are planted only with red grapes, which are more suited to the hot climate of the region. For this reason, when they decided to make a white, they went to a cooler climate vineyard- Boushey.

I think Dick and Luanne Boushey will be pleased with the results, as Ambassador Winery has done right by their grapes. The wine is rather tightly wound for a Sauvignon Blanc, and really opens up with time, which can be good sign that it will age nicely for a few years. The nose shows hints of flint and mineral with a touch of citrus. The palate is bigger than the average Sauvignon Blanc, about medium-full in body for a crisp white. It’s fresh, and soft with notes of white peach, hints of tarragon, green and yellow apples, and asian pears. It’s a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, co-fermented in a combination of neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel, the result of which is a wine that is complex, subtle, and pleasing.

Ambassador Winery 2015 Boushey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Ambassador Winery 2015 Boushey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Click here to order the Ambassador Boushey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Yakima Valley AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard(s): Boushey Vineyard
Grape(s): 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon
Aging: Co-Fermented and Aged in Neutral French Oak and Stainless Steel
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 13.8% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Fume Blanc, Bordeaux Blanc, Avennia Oliane, Efeste Sauvage
Food Pairing: Oysters, Soft Cheese
Production: 300 cases

Cheers

Yashar

Albert Bichot Macon-Village

Macon Impulse:

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village, White Burgundy

Fellow wine lovers, it’s literally been two years since I last offered up a Macon. Sadly, the one I fell in love with back then is no longer imported here, but luckily I’ve found a new love. Albert Bichot is an estate in France’s Burgundy region with family roots in the area going back to the year 1350. They produce wines from almost every corner of the region, including this lovely Macon-Village, coming from the Mâconnais, in the clay and sandstone hills of Southern Burgundy.

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village $16.99

In the 1990’s Albert Bichot’s descendant Alberic Bichot took over the company, after having spent time abroad. He brought with him new perspectives, as well as a vision toward the future of the family winery. He pushed to modernise how the grapes are grown and how the wines are made, expanding the barrel facilities in order to allow for the aging of more complex wines, and introducing organic viticulture into their farms.

In true Macon style, this is a bright and easy style of Chardonnay, aged in just 20% French oak barrels for 8 months. It’s crisp and nimble, showing notes of fresh yellow apple and anjou pear, hints of lemon and white flowers, with just slight suggestions of cinnamon and hazelnut. It’s readily enjoyable, and easy to pair with light foods such as oysters, halibut, crudo plates, and soft cheeses. Also, just a great value.

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village

Click here to order the Albert Bichot Macon-Village
Region: Macon-Village AOC, Mâconnais, Côte-d’Or, Burgundy, France
Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay
Aging: 8 Months in 20% French Oak Barrels and 80% Stainless Steel
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Drink This if you Like: Macon, Oregon Chardonnay, Chablis
Food Pairing: Oysters, Clams, Halibut, Soft Cheese

Cheers

Yashar

The Walls Vineyards Chardonnay

New Yorker Impulse

The Walls Vineyards 2014 “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, almost everyone knows and enjoys the cartoon stylings of The New Yorker Magazine, and many people are fans of the wines turned out by Corliss Estates in Walla Walla, and their sibling winery, Tranche Cellars. Something I never expected is to see elements from the two converging into a single new wine project from Walla Walla, but that’s what’s happening now.

Ali Mayfield, formerly on the winemaking team for Corliss/Tranche, is launching a brand new winery, with label art drawn by a New Yorker Magazine cartoonist. The result is great wines, fun labels, and something exciting and new for us to share.

The Walls Vineyards 2014 “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay $24.99

For this Chardonnay, Ali is seeking out warmer vineyard sites which give rise to bigger and riper wines, conveying the full magnitude of complexity which Washington State can express. Despite the name translating into “young vines”, the plantings go back as far as 1982, which is rather mature. She is sourcing from Conner Lee Vineyard and Stillwater Creek Vineyard, which are often the backbone of well known washington Chardonnays from the likes of Buty Winery, Tenor, Ashan Cellars, and Gorman Winery. While I’ve typically leaned toward more delicate styles of Chardonnay to offer on Impulse, this one is a bit bigger, yet still very balanced- so if you’ve been looking for something with more oak and butter, this one is for you.

The Walls “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay is barrel fermented in 78% new French oak barrels and 22% stainless steel barrels, and then aged for 11 months in those same vessels. The result is a generous flavors of vanilla bean and freshly made toast, with hints of custard and buttered popcorn. The Chardonnay is equitably ripe, showing classic notes of golden delicious apple and bartlett pear, with hints of pineapple and lemon. It finishes clean with hints of mineral, and is overall a lovely Chardonnay which competes well with many priced $5 or $10 higher.

The Walls Vineyards 2014 "Les Jeunes Vignes" Chardonnay

The Walls Vineyards 2014 “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay

Click here to order the The Walls Vineyards “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard(s): Conner Lee Vineyard and Stillwater Creek Vineyard
Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay
Aging: Barrel Fermented in 78% New French Oak Barrels and 22% Stainless Steel Barrels, and Aged for 11 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Chard from Woodward Canyon, Buty, Tenor, Ashan, Gorman
Food Pairing: Wild Caught Alaskan Halibut, Copper River King Salmon
Production: 241 cases

Cheers

Yashar