Category Archives: Red Blend

Kevin White Yakima Valley Red Blend

Kevin White Impulse

Kevin White 2015 Yakima Valley Red Wine

Fellow wine lovers, a blockbuster wine from last year is back its second vintage today. Kevin White’s wines have been an Impulse favorite since we first featured them a few years ago, and last year he came out with a new wine, a declassified red made in the same style as his flagship Rhone style wines. The new vintage was just release and has already sold out on his website, disappearing in a flash, but we are lucky enough to have a bit to feature on Impulse today.

Kevin White 2015 Yakima Valley Red Wine $17.99

 If you like Rhone style reds from Washington State, Kevin White’s are not to be missed. This one in particular will be gone in a hurry, as there is so little of it made and the value is tremendous. It’s made using the same fruit from the same vineyards as is earth shattering La Fraternité and En Hommage wines, with Kevin assembling those two blends first, then everything else that’s still worthy goes into this Red Wine.

Simply put, the wine is really good! It’s beautiful, smooth, and spicy. It’s soft and medium bodied on the palate, very easy drinking, and ready now with the ability to lay down for a few years. It has a lovely nose of delicate red berries, with hints of pepper, herb, and rose petals. There are flavors of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry. A perfect every day drinker.

Kevin White Red Wine

Kevin White Winery Red Wine

Click here to order the Kevin White Red Blend

 Region: Yakima Valley

Grape(s): 44% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre

Drinkability: Now through 2021

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 14.9% by volume

Drink This if you Like: La Fraternité, En Hommage, W.T. Vintners, Savage Grace,

Food Pairing: Lamb Chops

Production: 466 cases


Disruption Red Wine

Disruption Impulse

Disruption Wine Co. 2014 Red Wine

Fellow wine lovers, sometimes good winemakers are obscured, working in the shadow of their bosses. It’s until they have an opportunity to break out on their own that they start to shine. Andrew Latta spent years working for Charles Smith, crafting some of the most well known wines in Washington State, but not a lot of people knew who he was until recently. He introduced his eponymous Latta Wines just a couple of years ago, and immediately got a bit of press for it. In 2015 he was named as a “Washington’s Game Changer” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, then in 2016 he was named one of Washington State’s winemakers to watch by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.  Now he’s launching a second label, with pure pleasure wines and great pricing- Disruption Wine.

Disruption Wine Company 2014 Red Blend $14.99

The Disruption Wine Company red leans towards the hedonistic side of things. It’s big, dense, ripe, and bold. Rather primary in nature, with great purity of fruit, it’s smooth and easy to enjoy. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Malbec sourced from quality vineyards Clifton Bluff, Newhouse, and DenHoed, throughout the Columbia Valley. It’s full of dark berry notes, such as blackberries, chocolate covered blueberries, with hints of violets, cedars, and pepper

Disruption 2014 Red Wine

Disruption 2014 Red Wine

Click here to order the Disruption Red Blend

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): Clifton Bluff, Newhouse, and DenHoed

Grape(s): 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Malbec

Drinkability: Now through 2018

Body: Full

Alcohol: 13.5% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Secret Squirrel



Les Trouvés Red Wine

Trove Impulse

Les Trouvés 2013 Red Wine by Avennia

Fellow wine lovers, the wine industry has a-buzz this week with everyone raving about a brand new offshoot label by the good people of Avennia Winery – winemaker Chris Peterson and business partner Marty Taucher. They’re introducing a completely new set of wines called “Les Trouvés”, named for a French expression meaning found or discovered. They’ve been giving some some sneak previews of the wines, ahead of its official release, and we are among the first to have the pleasure of trying it.

Les Trouvés (by Avennia) 2013 Red Wine $24.99

The idea with this new wine is to keep things simple and easy drinking, modeling it after the wines of Southern France, specifically Provence. There, the the warm Mediterranean climate (not unlike our current climate here in Seattle) calls for a more refreshing style of red, with less oak and a more relaxed disposition. This is a traditional Provencal style blend of Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah, about half of which comes from declassified Avennia juice, while the rest is source by Chris Peterson, négociant style, from the Rocks in Walla Walla, Red Mountain, and the Horse Heaven Hills.

It’s a completely different style than what we’ve seen from Chris Peterson in his Avennia and Passing Time wines, but still holds the same high standards in quality and value. The nose is aromatic with hints of flowers, juicy red fruits, and a touch of bubblegum-like character. The palate is easy, medium-bodied, and holds flavors of brandied cherries and herbes de Provence, backed by a bit of meaty gamey quality and hints of lavender. This is a perfect wine to enjoy at a bistro in Provence, or in the comfort of your own patio on a beautiful day.

Les Trouvés 2013 Red Wine

Les Trouvés 2013 Red Wine

Click here to order the Les Trouvés Red wine

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Grapes: Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Southern Rhone, Provence, Côtes du Rhône
Press: Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Weekly Wine Pick by Sean Sullivan
Food Pairings: Antipasti on the patio
Production: 400 cases



Avennia 2012 Sestina, Valery, and Gravura

Right Bank Impulse

Avennia 2012 Sestina, Valery, and Gravura

Fellow wine lovers, we’ve been featuring the wines of Avennia since Impulse Wine first began, and they just continue to impress. Today we have 3 of their latest release of Bordeaux style wines, from the outstanding 2012 vintage, which includes a brand new Right Bank Bordeaux style red called “Valery”.

For those who have yet to hear of Avennia, this is a remarkable new winery, now in their third vintage, with long-time veteran winemaker Chris Peterson turning out some of the best wines in the state. Chris made wines at DeLille for several years before connecting with his now business partner, Marty Taucher, a Microsoft alumn. Together, they’ve caught the attention of every major magazine and wine reviewer, quickly becoming the most talked about new winery of the past five years.

Avennia 2012 “Sestina” Left Bank Bordeaux Red $59.99

The Sestina red is their flagship Bordeaux wine, featuring the most body, complexity, and age worthiness. Jeb Dunnuck of the Wine Advocate sampled it while still in barrel and gave it a rating of 94-96 points, calling it a “knockout”. It has significantly more Cabernet Sauvignon than the other two Bordeaux, with 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are sourced from some of the oldest Cabernet vines in the state, from top vineyard sites, including a 1973 planting from Dionysus Vineyard and a 1972 planting at Bacchus Vineyard. The Sestina also receives a more generous oak regiment than the other two, spending 21 months in 70% new French Oak barrels.

The result is a layered and beautifully structured wine, which is tasting great right now, and will easily continue to develop in the bottle for several years – it’s also well worth decanting if you open it up sooner rather than later. This blockbuster 2012 vintage brings forth a Sestina with a more generous and boastful nose that has lots of dark fruits, nuanced by baking spices and earth. The palate is full bodied, though not heavy, coming up very balanced and smooth, with a hint of grip on the finish which will soften over time. It shows classic notes of blackberries and blackcurrant, with a background of blueberry, hints of vanilla, new leather, and scorched earth and graphite. Its essence is deep and dark, with a long finish that keeps on giving. This wine is absolutely outstanding, and will only continue to get better.

Chris only made 250 cases of this lovely Sestina, and we are able to offer just 3 cases on Impulse, first come first serve.

Click here to order the Avennia 2012 Sestina

Avennia 2012 Sestina

Avennia 2012 Sestina

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: 33% Dionysus Vineyard Cab, planted 1973 33% Red Willow Cab, planted 1985 6%
Bacchus Vineyard Cab, planted 1972 19% Red Willow Merlot, planted 1985 9% Bacchus Cab Franc, planted 1997
Grape: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 70% new French Oak for 21 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2027
Body: Full
Drink This if you Like: DeLille Chaleur Estate Red, Betz Pere de Famille Cabernet
Press: 94-96 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: New York Steak with Demi-Glace
Production: 250
Availability: 3 cases

Avennia 2012 “Valery” Right Bank Bordeaux Red $44.99

This is their newest wine in the line-up, and it’s very exciting that we are able to get some of it, because there’s so little made and its announcement is so well received. The “Valery” red is named for Saint Valery, the patron Saint of wine in the town of St. Emillon, in the right bank of Bordeaux. Like the wines of St. Emillon, Valery is a Merlot based blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and no Cabernet Sauvignon. This turns out a lighter style, that leans more towards red fruits.

I asked Chris and Marty if there is a particular reason they’re introducing a new wine, and they told me it was inspired by Dick Boushey, of Boushey Vineyards. Seems Dick has an old, 1986 planting, of Merlot within his vineyard, which is unique. It’s planted in an especially rocky site, not unlike the new Rocks AVA, which was just designated in Walla Walla. Apparently, Dick had mentioned the site saying, “You wouldn’t be interested in this Merlot, it comes off really earthy,” and that was enough to peak everyone’s interests. They acquired some of the Merlot with the intention of adding it into one of the preexisting Avennia blends, but once they tasted the outcome, they immediately felt it was worthy of its own label, Valery.

These rocky Merlot vines have turned into another winner for Avennia, with a polish mouthfeel and dusty gravel subtleties. The wine has already received a preview score of 92-94 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, where Jeb Dunnuck referred to it as “voluptuous” and “sexy”. It shows hints of cocoa powder, fresh ground peppercorn, red cherries, red plums, and hints of Herbes de Provence coming from the 20% Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc.

Another great wine from Avennia, and they made just 125 cases, of which we are able to offer 3 cases on Impulse, first come first serve.

Click here to order the Avennia Valery Right Bank Red

Avennai 2012 Valery

Avennai 2012 Valery

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: 80% Boushey Vineyard Merlot 1986 planting, 20% Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Grape: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 60% new French oak for 20 months
Drinkability: Now through 2023
Body: Medium
Drink This if you Like: Clos de Betz
Press: 92-94 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: Meatloaf, Beef Brisket, Grilled Pork
Production: 125
Availability: 3 cases

Avennia 2012 “Gravura” Left Bank Bordeaux $34.99

The Gravura continue to be a standout value among the Avennia showcase, and Washington State Wines as a whole. It’s like the little sibling of the Sestina, with less Cabernet Sauvignon, being almost equal parts Cab and Merlot, with 11% Cabernet Franc. It receives a more mild barrel treatment of 50% new French oak for 20 months, and is more suited for early drinking, though can surely lay down for a while. It has a more up-front showing of bright fruits, with notes of juicy black raspberries and cherries, red liquorice, hints of sage and cedar. The palate is firm and dense, yet velvety and generous, with the wine really opening up nicely over time. I’ve saved several bottles of their 2011 and 2010 vintages, and found that they really evolve beautifully. Easily one of my favorite wines, and an outstanding value. Something I am happy to have poured for me anytime – in fact, this is the wine I most often take to dinner and parties, and give as gifts to friends whom I know really appreciate great wine. The responses I get when showing the Gravura, to someone who has yet to have it, are extremely positive.

Stephen Tanzer of Vinous gives it 92 points, calling it, “A steal for the price”. Chris made only 625 cases of this beauty.

Click here to order the Avennia Gravura

Avennia 2012 Gravura

Avennia 2012 Gravura

Region: Columbia Valley
Vineyard: 19% Angela’s Vineyard Cab, 15% Bacchus Vineyard Cab, 14% Red Willow Cab, 23% Red Willow Merlot, 14% Klipsun Merlot, 4% Boushey Merlot, 7% Champoux Cab Franc, 4% Bacchus Cab Franc
Grape: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 50% new French oak for 20 months
Drinkability: Now Through 2025
Body: Medium-Full
Drink This if you Like: DeLille D2
Press: 92 points from Vinous/Tanzer
Food Pairings: Steak
Production: 625



Balboa 2012 Walla Walla Red Wine

Eidolon Impulse: Balboa 2012 Walla Walla Red Wine

Fellow Wine Lovers, we’ve featured a few wines from the hotly up-and-coming region within Walla Walla known as “The Rocks of Milton-Freewater.” This region is formed on an ancient riverbed which is covered with large basalt cobblestones, and the source for the famed wines of Cayuse and Reynvaan. Wines coming from the rocks are distinctly terroir driven, with lots of earthy characteristic, perhaps too earthy for those who are not so eager to have a wine which tastes like rocks and dirt- though many do love this quality.

Lately I’ve had a few bottles which combine grapes from The Rocks with more fruit driven grapes harvested out of other areas in Walla Walla, culminating in a wine with outstanding balance between earthy and fruity characteristics.

Balboa 2012 Walla Walla Red Wine $19.99 (Regularly $26)

Balboa in Walla Walla is a younger winery, founded in 2003 by winemaker Tom Glase. His career started back in 1998 when he began working at L’Ecole No. 41, one of the most respected wineries in Walla Walla, then moved on to Corliss Estate before launching Balboa Winery.

For this bottling of 2012 Red Wine, Tom combines fruit from his Estate Eidolon Vineyard in The Rocks, with Summit View Vineyard. As the name might suggest, Summit View Vineyard is one of the highest planted in Walla Walla, perched just above Seven Hills Vineyard, with panoramic views of the entire value. In contrast to Eidolon Vineyard in The Rocks, Summit View turns out grapes with are driven by purity of fruit, and when combined, you get the best of both worlds.

This is one of the favorite red blends I’ve had all year, and it’s recently gone to close-out pricing, so it’s without a doubt one of the best values in Washington State red wine right now. A blend of 39% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 16% Malbec, 14% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc, aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, it shows delicate balance and captivating depth of flavor. Up front there are beautiful clean fruits of ripe blackberry, black cherry, and juicy purple plums, while hints of licorice, vanilla, and mint play in the background. Digging further down, the earth comes through with suggestions of crushed rocks, sage brush, and dried leaves. Really an outstanding bottle of wine that opens up beautifully over several hours- something I’m personally stocking up on for everyday drinking. Only 430 cases were made.

Click here to order the Balboa Walla Walla Red Wine

Balboa 2012 Red Wine

Balboa 2012 Red Wine

Region: Walla Walla Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: Eidolon Estate Vineyard and Summit View Vineyard
Grapes: 39% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 16% Malbec, 14% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 16 Months in French Oak Barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 14.4% by volume
Production: 430 cases



Numbskull Impulse

Mark Ryan Winery introduces two new wines

Fellow wine lovers, I try to refrain from name-calling, but today’s wine has Numbskull written all over it. Just when we thought life couldn’t get any better, Mark Ryan Winery does a thing like introducing two new wines under a distinct new label called “Numbskull”. Aside from the great wine and the fantastic value, the label itself is a big stand-out too. It features the likeness of a skull, one worthy of a second take.

You might not guess it at first glance, but it’s actually a skull which is hand drawn, not by pencil or brush, but by a lit match. Turns out Cherylin Andre, who works the Mark Ryan tasting room, is also the winery’s resident artist, and the Numbskull label is based on a “flame painting” which she drew by carefully maneuvering a lit match underneath a 22×30 inch piece of watercolor paper. From what Cherylin told me, the idea of flame painting is something which she herself developed, and I’ve personally never seen anything like it.

Mark Ryan 2012 “Numbskull” Bordeaux Style Red $35.99 (Normally $38)

(Regularly $38) The focus of the two Numbskull wines is Walla Walla. Mark Ryan opened a new tasting room out there last year, and has quickly become ingrained into the wine community of the valley. Being a good neighbor, they’ve taken up some local fruit in a show of support for their new cohorts, and the result is Numbskull.

My favorite of the two is the Bordeaux style red, a blend of 69% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot. On first taste, I was very impressed at how well they captured the Walla Walla terroir, especially since the majority of Mark Ryan wines are made with grapes from Red Mountain, which could be said to be Walla Walla’s polar opposite. While their Red Mountain wines tend to be big, bold, and dense, with firm tannins, these Walla Walla wines are relatively light, earthy, and delicate. This stark contrast is do to the very different climatic conditions of the two grouping regions. Red Mountain is hot and dry, while Walla Walla is relatively cool and with a touch more precipitation by contrast.

It’s off to a good start, but I think it can use another 8 months in the bottle, or at least a decanting, before it really starts to come alive. The Numbskull Bordeaux is smooth, soft, and plumy, with medium body- strong reflections of its Merlot base. The Cabernet in the blend gives it peppery spice, dried herb qualities, with added notes of cassis and blackcherry, and a backbone for ageability. That 3% Petit Verdot sneaks in a extra bit of acidity and reaffirms the tannins, adding further to the wine’s longevity. There were only 500 cases produced.

Numbskull by Mark Ryan Winery

Numbskull by Mark Ryan Winery

Click here to order the Numskull Bordeaux

Region: Walla Walla Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: Super Secret Undisclosed Vineyards in Walla Walla
Grapes: 69% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot
Aging: 100% French Oak; 80% new and 20% used barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2022
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 15.1% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Pomerol, Saint Emillon
Food Pairings: Pot Roast
Production: 500 cases

Mark Ryan 2012 “Numbskull” GSM Rhone Style Red $29.99 (Normally $32)

(Regularly $32) The GSM is a blend of 58% Syrah, 26% Grenache, 16% Mourvedre, and again really captures the elegant qualities of Walla Walla’s terroir, in many ways leaning towards the flavors of a French wine from the Rhone Valley. The fruit is harvested from two top vineyards in the region, Seven Hills Vineyard, and one of my new favorites, Les Collines Vineyard. I’ve been really impressed by the wines I’ve had from Les Collines, the Syrahs coming from here are especially phenomenal. I think this might be one of the most terroir driven sites in the valley.

Showing nicely now, though the GSM could use another 6 months in the bottle before drinking, it’s a prime example of what Washington can do with Rhone grape varieties. Aged in 100% French Oak; 40% new and 60% used barrels, it showcases fresh, ripe, juicy red and blue fruit. There are notes of red licorice, and raspberry freezer jam, blueberries, backed by black peppercorn, along with hints of cured olives and smokey meats. Perfect with a mouthwatering cut of prime rib. Only 1000 cases were produced.

Click here to order the Numbskull GSM

Region: Walla Walla Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: Seven Hills, Les Collines
Grape: 58% Syrah, 26% Grenache, and 16% Mourvedre
Aging: 100% French Oak; 40% new and 60% used barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 14.9% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Cote Rotie, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley
Food Pairings: Prime Rib
Production: 1000 cases



Deviled Impulse

Gorman Winery Devil You Know and Devil You Don’t Know

Fellow wine lovers, I’ve always viewed Chris Gorman, of Gorman Winery, as a prince of darkness of sorts, so naturally he’s returned to tempt us once again with the second vintage of last year’s guilty pleasure. He’s been experimenting a lot recently, and that’s led to a few new labels from him, including two new red wines: The Devil You Know, and The Devil You Don’t Know. They’re both red blends, with the Devil You Know (DYK) made using vineyards and vinification techniques standard to Gorman Winery, while the Devil You Don’t Know (DYDK) employs new fruit sources, and experimental winemaking- hence the names. 

Gorman Winery 2012 Devil You know Red 26.99 (Regularly $30)

Last year’s feature on Impulse didn’t include the DYK, as we weren’t able to get a hold of any. With much advanced planning this year, we’re featuring both wines in this devilish duo, which is great because each one offers something different and interesting. Between these two, the DYK is more typical of the Gorman wines, with an added component of value, as it’s among the few reds in his lineup under $40. While both of these two wines are rather drink-worthy, I will say that the DYK is my favorite this year, and I’m betting if will get higher scores from the wine media if it gets reviewed, though last year it was the DYDK which brought home the bacon with a 93 point score from Wine Spectator. 

In true Gorman style, the wine is smooth, lusty, and powerful. It’s tightly concentrated, and will definitely benefit from another year in the bottle before you crack it- or at least an hour or two in the decanter is advisable. A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Petite Sirah, and 8% Petit Verdot, its nose is dense with stewed red fruit, floral hints, and oak notes. The palate is a concerted display of stewed raspberries and strawberries, wild berry bramble, a typical Cabernet black peppercorn, and perfumed rose hips, while the indulgent aging in new French oak Barrels for 16 months produces a showing of baked vanilla. 

It’s great with a tenderloin, and should be drinking nicely for another five to seven years. Gorman only made 825 cases of this still unknown gem. 

Click here to order the Gorman Devil You Know  Devil You Know 2012 by Gorman Winery

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State 
Grapes: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 13% Petite Sirah & 8% Petit Verdot. 
Aging: Aged 16 months in French Oak Barrels 
Drinkability: Now through 2021 
Body: Medium-Full 
Alcohol: 14.7% by volume 
Drink This if you Like: Gorman Bully Cabernet 
Food Pairings: Tenderloin 
Production: 825 cases made 

Gorman Winery 2012 Devil You Don’t Know Red $26.99 (Regularly $30)

Ever intent on staying sharp, and never the type to sit still or get stuck in his ways, Gorman is using the DYDK label as experimental grounds. He ventured outside his comfort zone of Red Mountain, into the heart of the Columbia Valley to source fruit of a terroir which is distinct from the Gorman wines we’ve come to know. The body and mouthfeel here are a little lighter than the DYK, while again offering a great value proposition. The winemaking is nothing if not atypical of what we’ve come to know from this winemaker, exemplified best in the use of American oak barrels. All other Gorman wines have been aged exclusively in 100% French oak prior to the advent of the DYDK. French oak has garnered a reputation for being more subtle, and elegant, with a flavor profile which integrates better into wines, allowing the fruit to lead while the oak plays in back. American oak is known as the loud-mouth cousin who makes sure he’s always heard above others, and some are also said to taste of dill weed. Still, when used correctly, American oak is really flavorful, robust, and complex, and certain selections omit those herby dill flavors. The DYDK is a great example of what I consider to be a skilled usage of American oak. 

The DYDK is a little showier right now than the DYK, with lots of up character. Tons of candied black cherries, baked blackberries, and homemade pie jumping out immediately. The tannins are firm and can use another year in the bottle or hour in the decanter to calm them down. The blend of 52% Syrah, 17% Mourvedre, 17% Grenache & 14% Petite Sirah offers up lots of smoky spiciness and hints of flint, calling to be paired with smoked meats and salumi. The 16 months of aging in new American oak barrels have packed this red with an abundance of vanilla bean, toast, and deep mocha character. After opening up for a few hours, it shows delicious blueberry notes, with even more vanilla, half baked cookie dough, and hints of cedar. 

Click here to order The Gorman Devil You Don’t Know

Devil You Don’t Know 2012 by Gorman WineryRegion: Columbia Valley, Washington State 
Grapes: 52% Syrah, 17% Mourvedre, 17% Grenache & 14% Petite Sirah 
Aging: 16 months in New American Oak Barrels 
Drinkability: now through 2018 
Body: Medium-Full 
Alcohol: 15% by volume 
Drink This if you Like: Idle Hands, Napa Syrah 
Food Pairings: BBQ, smoked eats, salumi 
Production: 825 cases made