W.T. Vintners 2011 Damavian Syrah & 2012 Dalliance Rhone Red
Fellow wine lovers, we’ve been enjoying a lot of big juicy wines lately, so today we’ll have a change of pace as we explore a lighter, earthier, side to Washington wine. We are visiting back with an Impulse Wine favorite, W.T. Vintners- you might remember our previous offerings of their buzz-worthy Gruner Veltliner and their head turning Syrah. The two families of W.T. (White & Thorsen) have just released their latest set of Rhone style wines, which has already caught the attention of local wine writers, winning the distinction of being labeled Seattle Magazine’s “2014 Winemaker to Watch”.
Not only that, but W.T. had their horn tooted by the Wall Street Journal this year, in June, alongside a handful of other Impulse Wine staples. If you haven’t yet had that opportunity to read that article, you can catch it by clicking here.
W.T. Vintners 2011 “Damavian” Syrah $41.99
Their Damavian is the bolder of the two wines in today’s offering, and it’s 100% Syrah coming from Les Collines (pronounced Lay Co-Lean) Vineyard in Walla Walla. You may have heard my raves before, and it’s worth mentioning once more; I think Les Collines might just be one of the very best Syrah vineyards in the whole state, and it moves up my list every time I try a new wine sourced from here.
In Seattle Magazine’s 2014 edition of the Washington Wine Awards, this Damavian Syrah was selected as the the best Syrah over $20 in the state, after being tasted blind by a panel of 25 well respected local wine professionals. The wine was featured in their August issue where they wrote that W.T.’s Syrah “impressed our judges with its elegant complexity, showing aromas of ‘dried herbs, black olive, pipe tobacco, violets, smoked meat and camphor.’ … this intense wine shows the unique characteristics of the vineyard it was grown in…” I would also add to the list of tasting notes, its vivid nose of fresh ground black pepper and its cache of black cherry fruit leather.
Coming off medium-full on the palate, it’s a great example of how a well made Washington wine can be dense and complex without an overbearing sense of heaviness. White and Thorsen are using 50% whole cluster grapes during fermentation, which really adds to the richness of texture and helps accentuate the inherent earth and terroir qualities.
W.T. made only 56 cases of this rare gem, and they have provided us just 2 of those cases to offer on Impulse. First come first serve.
W.T. Vintners 2012 Damavian Syrah, Les Collines Vineyard
Click here to order the W.T. Damavian Syrah
Region: Walla Walla Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: Les Collines Vineyard, Block 30
Grape: 100% Syrah
Aging: 18 months in Neutral French Barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Alcohol: 14.2% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Hermitage, Cote Rotie, Walla Walla Syrah
Press: Rated “Best Washington Syrah over $20” by Seattle Magazine
Food Pairings: Slow Roasted Pot Roast, Lamb Chops with Rosemary.
Production: 56 cases
Availability: 2 cases
W.T. Vintners 2012 “Dalliance” Mourvedre Blend $31.99
The Dalliance is a Southern Rhone Style blend of 41% Mourvedre, 36% Syrah, and 23% Grenache, coming Stoney Vine Vineyard in the Rocks area of Walla Walla. You may have heard about this area, now being officially dubbed “The Rocks of Milton-Freewater” within the southern portion of Walla Walla, as it’s slated for designation as an official sub-region of the Walla Walla Valley. Aptly named for the fact that the land in this region is covered with rocks, and it could be said that the wines coming from here also taste like rocks, having an especially earthy nature at their core. Wines from this area are in high demand, as this is where the Cayuse Vineyards are located.
The Dalliance red is a lighter style of wine, featuring earthier tertiary qualities above all else. It’s spiced with hints of jalapeno and peppercorns, notes of dry autumn leaves, and the essence of crushed rocks. There is an inkling of bing cherry fruit among these secondary notes as well.
Sean Sullivan, writing for Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, named it as his 2nd favorite red blend from Washington State, in the 2014 “Top 100 Washington Wines” issue. He calls it “a rare Washington wine,” while observing that, “rocks wines are seldom offered at this price; this one won’t last long.”
Just 252 cases were produced.
W.T. Vintners 2012 Dalliance Red Blend, Walla Walla
Click here to order the Dalliance Mourvedre Blend
Region: The Rocks, Walla Walla, Washington State
Vineyard: Stoney Vine Vineyard
Grape: 41% Mourvedre, 36% Syrah, 23% Grenache
Aging: 14 months in Neutral French Oak Barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Vacqueyras or Gigondas
Press: Rated #2 Washington Red Blend in Seattle Met Magazine’s Best Wines of 2014
Food Pairings: Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Herbs