Thursday, August 11, 2011

Walla Walla Wine Brought to You Today by the Letter "T"

We didn't plan it that way, it just happened.

Friend and wine colleague, Joan Corsi of Vinum Distributing visited Walla Walla on Sunday. It was a day off for both of us, and looking for something to do, we decided to check out some wineries Joan was not familiar with. It was going to be a day of leisure for the both of us and not business. Now, a few wineries weren't opened on Sunday and we were had limited time (just in case a few of "youse guys" corner me and wonder why we didn't visit you). Our first stop was;

Tero Estates/Flying Trout: Not only does Tero Estates/Flying Trout have a winery and vineyards in the valley, but they also have a tasting room in downtown Walla Walla located at the corner of the Marcus Whitman Hotel at Second and Rose. We visited with Michelle Fletcher Hunt, super-pouring-assistant-extraordinaire and we could not have had better timing as co-owner-winemaker-vineyard-dude, Doug Roskelley was there, as well. (Note: the RO in ROskelley is the RO in TeRO).

Tero Estates Winery is located at Windrow Vineyard. They source as much of their fruit as possible from their estate. Windrow is a rolling 32 acre (25 acres are planted in vines) picturesque property surrounded with an amazing view of the foothills and other vineyards. Windrow is part of the first commercial vineyard planted in the Walla Walla Valley AVA.

Michelle poured us through a magical assortment of luscious deep reds: Flying Trout Malbec and Flying Trout Lake Blend. Tero Estate Cabernet, Tero ST (Super Tuscan), including some new releases, Tero Estates Herb's Block - Windrow Vineyard Merlot, and Tero Estates Windrow Vineyard Cabernet Franc. All beautiful and I could not decide my favorite.

Trust Cellars: This was the first visit for me since Steve and Lori Brooks left their old facility south of Walla Walla and moved to their new digs at the airport. Their new winery is a very comfortable space painted in a warm tone of peach and accented with still life paintings of fruit.

The charming Mr. Brooks was there to pour his repertoire of wines while he and I also caught up on news, quips and colorful stories. (A few weeks earlier, Steve, Sean Sullivan of the Washington Wine Report and I gathered for drinks one evening. The three of us caught up on news, quips and colorful stories before we were "kicked" out of the bar - long story - bartender wanted to close early - had a hot date- my glass of water was practically whisked from my hand while I was drinking. Thank goodness they let me finish my glass of bubbly. So Sunday was a continuation ... and of course every tidbit I learn is off the record - ahem.)

Steve poured for Joan and I the following: 2010 Riesling, 2010 Cabernet Franc Rosé, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Syrah and T.A.T.T. (Tried and True - red blend). Steve's wines have always been on the top of my list. I was happy to see this year that the new vintages of Cabernet Franc Rosé and Riesling were still available as it seems as if I can never get it to them in time. They fly out of the winery. For once my timing wasn't off!

Tertulia Cellars: It's at the other end of town by the foothills and so worth the drive. As you come up the road, the building of Tertulia seems to appear as if it is an oasis. And as the afternoon reached higher temps, it definitely was. Joan and I were greeted by Michelle Aichele, tasting room manager.

Michelle poured for us her Sunday's line-up of: 2010 Viognier, 2010 Syrah du Rosé, Sobra Red Blend, Tempranillo, Malbec and Carmenere. Which one did I love the best? It was the Syrah du Rosé. No wait! It was the Malbec! No wait! It was the Tempranillo! No wait! It was the Carmenere! No wait ... It's tough to decide which one of winemaker, Ryan Raber's wines are my favorite.

Tertulia's signature "circle of friends" is not only a distinctive icon, but they also show it with their warm hospitality. Later, Michelle asked us to join her on the patio overlooking the gorgeous view. We sipped a glass of Syrah du Rosé while enjoying the fresh air, the view of the mountains, vineyards and even saw a few pheasant. It was a wonderful way to end a summer afternoon.

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