Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tertulia Cellars

It’s a happy building. Rather prominent, with a surrounding view of the country side. The colors of the winery are distinguished, yet reminding me of Skittles candy. Like I said, "Happy." The building makes you want to go inside and see more color.

Tertulia is a Spanish word meaning "a social gathering of friends." And the colors inside and out makes me think just that. The tasting room is "hip, cool and edgy," but oh so comfy. Christina Peet, sales and tasting room manager, is knowledgeable, friendly and very hospitable. When I visit with tasting room staff I always look at them like, "Now would I hire them to work for me?" And I wouldn’t hesitate to hire Christina. So - - how are the wines?

Winemaker, Ryan Raber and I were classmates at the Center for Enology and Viticulture. Ryan was a serious and attentive student and there wasn’t a doubt he would graduate and enter the world of winemaking, producing some of the best wines around the valley. Me? I often schlepped behind moaning and groaning all through crush. Wine retail was in my heart.

There are some serious wines being made at Tertulia Cellars. Accolades and awards are being given for many of their 2005 vintages. And there are exclusive wines Ryan is producing just for their wine club. Rich wines that I groveled and threatened to hold my breath until they would sell me some, but I finally got off the floor and rearranged my dignity when a group of guests entered the winery.

In the mean time, for the dollar and quality, go Tertulia’s 2005 Red Table Wine. And it was rated "Excellent" by the Wine Press NorthWest Magazine. An aromatic blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, 5% Petite Verdot - it has a great nose of dark fruit and cocoa with scent of cedar box and the nose of plum and blackberries continues onto the flavors. It’s rich and well balanced. Again, another one of those wonderful Walla Walla gems that will not put a ding in the pocketbook.

Tertulia Cellars is definitely an exciting (and colorful) new winery to keep an eye on.

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