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A Cabernet Experience

Exploring Terroir with Forgeron Cellars

Oregon's French Connection

Maison Louis Jadot's Résonance

The French Connection

Rhone to Columbia Valley: The Syrah Doctrine

C'mon Get Happy

New Growth at Matthews Winery

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Friday, September 09, 2016

Live From Walla Walla; It's SODO

From Lucha Vino:

Hello Seattle!  Please welcome your newest neighbors.  Live from Walla Walla!

The Seattle urban wine scene has been gaining some serious momentum over the past several years.  What started as a small group of wineries banding together in South Seattle to promote their wines has grown to a collection of about 30 wineries within the greater Seattle area.
The latest wineries to move into the neighborhood come from Walla Walla.  Rotie Cellars, Sleight of Hand and Waters have all moved into the SODO neighborhood in the SODO Urban Works complex. They join Kerloo Cellars, Structure and Full Pull, who have been operating in the complex for a couple of years already.
The new neighbors were welcomed with a smashing Block Party on Saturday, August 27, 2016.  Each winery featured a stellar lineup of wines, small bites and other attractions including live DJs and an aerial burlesque show!  The party started at 1 PM and kept on growing well into the early evening.  By 6 PM all the tasting rooms were wall-to-wall with people reveling in the party atmosphere.
Ryan Crane founded Kerloo Cellars in 2010 in Walla Walla.  Ryan is a long time Seattle resident, so it was a natural move for him to bring his production back to the West side of the mountains.  Ryan’s SODO operation has been open for about two years now.  His space is open and inviting with minimalist modern design touches.  You can see right away that this is a working space with the barrels stacked high along the wall opposite the tasting bar.
Ryan’s Majestic red blend is a classic Southern Rhone blend featuring Grenache and Mourvedre.  With 78% Grenache and the remainder Mourvedre you get primary notes of dark red raspberry followed by dusty, savory, dry white pepper.
Sean Boyd’s inaugural vintage with Rotie Cellars was 2007.  Prior to starting Rotie, Sean made wine with Rich Funk at Saviah Cellars and Jamie Brown at Waters.

Sean is in search of the best locations in Washington for growing each grape variety that he uses to make his wines.  He figures if his quest is successful that his kids are going to be rich!  He is especially excited about his estate vineyard in the Rocks AVA.  The vineyard is still young and should provide the majority of the Syrah for Sean’s Northern Blend in the 2017 vintage.
The Rotie Cellars Southern White is a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne.  This wine shows excellent minerality with notes of sea breeze and herbal white flowers followed by light tropical notes of jack fruit and honeydew melon rounded out with excellent acidity on the finish.  
Sleight of Hand Cellars is a collaboration between Trey Busch and Jerry Solomon.  After meeting in 2002, Trey and Jerry finally started making wine together in 2007.
Also in 2007, while travelling in Spain, Jerry’s interest in Rose’ was piqued.  He was so fired up that he couldn’t wait to get home to pitch his idea for making a Rose’.  So he called Trey from the airport in Spain.  The conversation went something like this:
Jerry: We’re going to make a Rose’
Trey: Great!
Jerry: It’s gotta be Cabernet Franc
Trey: I love Cab Franc!
That phone call lead to the production of two barrels of a Rose’ of Cab Franc made mostly for their personal consumption.  The remaining bottles sold out of the tasting room in less than two weeks.  Today production for the Magician’s Assistant is up to 22 barrels.  It takes a bit longer to sell out, but you shouldn’t wait too long to buy some if you see it!
The 2015 Magician’s Assistant is a rose’ of 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Black Rock Vineyard.  It fires off herbal notes mingled with strawberries and melon backed with a wicked streak of acidity.
Structure Cellars ( has always been a Seattle based winery.  Brian and Brandee started Structure in their home in 2008 and moved into the SODO Urban Works complex in 2014.  The 2016 vintage will be the second vintage produced at their SODO location.
Brian loves Syrah and Brandee loves Cabernet Franc.  Their tastes come together to produce some excellent blends that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else.
A more traditional wine is their Bauhaus Syrah.  The grapes are sourced from the Destiny Ridge, Upland and Wallula vineyards.  This 100% Syrah features flavors of dark berries and light white pepper followed by subtle hazelnut and cracked pepper on the finish.
Waters Winery was started in Walla Walla by Jamie Brown in 2005.  Jamie moved to Seattle a couple of years ago and has been working to convince his partners to open a tasting room here ever since.  He finally got his way and we’re all benefiting from the decision!
Jamie was pouring a reserve tasting lineup that featured the 2008 and 2011 vintages of his 21 Grams wine.  21 Grams is Jamie’s top flight wine, which is made by selecting the best barrels in a blind tasting.  Not surprisingly, Cold Creek fruit typically drives the blend.
The current release is 2011.  Not only do you get a wine made from Jamie’s best grapes, you also get a wine that has already been aged for you.  If you are impatient, go ahead and drink it now.  If you can wait, you will be rewarded.  The 2011 and 2008 both tasted fabulous at the party.
The 2011 21 Grams is lush and lively.  The blend is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Malbec and Petit Verdot.  The wine features notes of dark currants, cherries and earthy white pepper with plentiful silky tannins.

Full Pull is not a winery per se.  Paul Zitarelli started Full Pull back in 2009 as an email list focusing on Washington wine.  Fast forward to 2016 and Paul is offering wines from around the world and has also started his own negociant wine label “Full Pull and Friends.”
A new addition to Paul’s wine portfolio is the Block Wine Project.  These wines are a collaboration between Team Full Pull and select wine makers.  Each wine is a single variety that comes from a single block in a single vineyard.
The NV Block Wines Extra Brut Rose’ was open for tasting at the block party and it definitely got the party started!  Full Pull collaborates with Treveri Cellars to make this sparkling rose’ from Pinot Noir grown in the Yakima Valley AVA.  This pink sparkler features notes of bread dough, yeast, straw and herbal strawberries.  There is plenty of acidity and a jet stream of bubbles to keep the party rocking!
The party may not be as lively the next time you visit the SODO Urban Works complex.  But, one thing is for sure; friendly, knowledgeable people will treat you to some awesome wines from your newest Seattle Urban Wine Scene neighbors.