Category Archives: Pinot Blanc

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris Impulse

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris, Columbia Gorge, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, it’s a nice sunny day today and I’m in the mood for a refreshing white wine. You don’t see me featuring many Washington State Pinot Gris, but when I find a good one I commit to it. I think the only two we’ve offered on Impulse have been the Nine Hats Pinot Gris and the Ross Andrew Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris, and it’s even been a while since we’ve worked with either of those.

Personally, I’ve been a fan of Ross Andrew Mickel’s wines for a decade now. He used to be the assistant winemaker at Betz Family Winery, back in the early 2000’s, and is an all around great guy. When I was working at Matthews Cellars in 2006/2007, Ross would occasionally come by to borrow a piece of equipment. We were among the few in Woodinville with top of the line winemaking gear back then, so many smaller wineries would come to our facility to use our stuff. Because of this, I had several good opportunities to chat with Ross, even work with him a bit in the cellar. I always found him to be very knowledgeable and passionate about wine.

Ross Andrew Winery 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris $18.99 (Regularly $24)

Sitting at an elevation of 1,370 feet in the cooler climate of the Columbia Gorge region of Washington State, Celilo Vineyard is well suited for the production of refreshing and crisp white wines. Ross Andrew has been doing a bang-up job with Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris for several years now, truly expressing its sense of place. It comes from old vines, some older than 43 years, and they make certain to hand-harvest amidst the cool of the morning, so as to keep the newly picked grapes as fresh as possible.

Ross Andrew ages the Celilo Pinot Gris in stainless steel vessels for 4 months, with no oak, so as to maintain the bright and vibrant nature of the grape. During that time, the wine is kept on its lees, so as add a supplementary layer of complexity. It’s an invigorating wine, with just a hint of sweetness in the middle, and a clean dry finish. Starting with clean and pretty fruits of anjou pear, Tuscan melon, white peach, lemon zest and tangerine peel, it moves towards hints of hazelnut, kiwi, and freshly plucked jasmine. The palate has a little bit of residual sugar, which makes for a beautifully viscous wine, and everything is very nicely balanced. An excellent companion to light seafood dishes such as prawns, ceviche, and oysters.

Click here to order the Ross Andrew Celilo Pinot Gris

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris

Ross Andrew 2016 Celilo Vineyard Pinot Gris

Region: Columbia Gorge

Vineyard(s): Celilo Vineyard

Grape(s): Pinot Gris

Aging: 4 Months on Less in Stainless Steel

Drinkability: Now through 2018

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 13.8% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Nine Hats Pinot Gris, Alsatian Pinot Gris

Food Pairing: Prawns, Ceviche, Oysters

Production: 950 cases



Ross Andrew “Glaze” Cab & “Meadow” White

Meadow Impulse

Ross Andrew Winery 2012 “Glaze” Cabernet Sauvignon and 2011 “Meadow” White WIne

Fellow wine lovers, we have a couple of easy-going, every-day drinking, kind of wines from an old pal of mine, Ross Andrew Mickel, of Ross Andrew Winery. For those not familiar with Ross and his off the radar winery, he started his winemaking career at DeLille Cellars and went on to become assistant winemaker at Betz Family Winery, where he worked under the tutelage of Bob Betz, Master of Wine. He then launched Ross Andrew Winery in 1999, and is today one of the few winemakers invited to make wine under the highly revered Grand Reve/Force Majeure label.

Ross Andrew 2012 “Glaze” Cabernet Sauvignon $14.99

I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again that 2012 was a superb vintage for Washington State, from which we are seeing outstanding wines from most every region and vineyard. When a vintage is great like this, where great wine is made up and down the range, it’s an ideal situation for value driven wines, as the quality of all wines is at an elevated level.

The Ross Andrew “Glaze” Cabernet is a nice, casual drinking, Cabernet with a bit of Merlot blended in to smooth things out and add extra complexity. It’s aged in just 30% French oak barrels, so it’s far from being an oaky Cabernet, and it weighs in at a very approachable 13.8% alcohol.

The wine shows qualities of red and black berries, hints of Valrhona chocolate, earth, and Grand Marnier, with a touch of ripe plums. Andy Perdue of Great Northwest Wine calls it a “Best Buy”, and I would have to agree.

Ross Andrew Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon

Ross Andrew Glaze Cabernet Sauvignon

Click here to order the Ross Andrew “Glaze” Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State
Grape: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot
Aging: 30% French Oak Barrels for 20 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.8% by volume
Press: Andy Perdue of Great Northwest Wine calls it a “Best Buy”

Ross Andrew 2011 “Meadow” White Blend $16.99

11.19 The Ross Andrew “Meadow” white is a really fun, unique, and well thought out wine. Year’s ago, Ross told me that he had conceptualized it when inspired by the wines of Marcel Deiss, from Alsace, France. In order to make a white wine with richness and complexity juxtaposed with fresh exuberance, Ross has done what few winemakers do and blended grapes from both Oregon and Washington States. He’s gathered up a handful of traditional Alsatian varieties: mostly Pinot Blanc from the Willamette Valley with bits of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling from the Columbia Gorge, and co-fermented them. The resulting wine is aged for 5 months in 100% stainless steel, to maintain its freshness, while on lees to add a creamy mouthfeel and additional layers of flavor.

The final product is a wine which is rich yet crisp, complex yet refreshing with just a slight hint of sweetness, and truly emulates the wines of Alsace better than most any other from the northwest. When I was the Sommelier at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, I often paired this with our richer seafood dishes such as crab, spot prawns, and squid, and it was extremely well received. It’s an excellent seafood food wine!

A great white to drink during colder times, given its richness, yet also perfect on a sunny day, given its refreshing crispness. The nose is aromatic with white flowers, Asian pear, and a slight nuttiness. The palate is fresh and vibrant with tangerine zest, white peaches, and hints of minerality. In the classic Alsatian style, there’s a touch of sweetness in the mid-palate, which really opens it up to serious food friendliness, then the acidity on the back end helps give it a clean and dry finish.

Sean Sullivan calls the Meadow White, “exquisitely balanced”, giving it 91 Points in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, where it is also an “Editor’s Choice” wine.

Ross Andrew Meadow White

Ross Andrew Meadow White

Click here to order the Ross Andrew Meadow White

Region: 53% Columbia Gorge, Washington and 47% Willamette Valley, Oregon
Grape: Mostly Pinot Blanc, with Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer
Aging: 100% Stainless Steel Aged on Fine Lees for 5 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 12.7% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Alsatian Whites, Marcel Deiss
Press: 91 Points and “Editor’s Choice” from Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Food Pairings: Spot Prawns, Squid, Crab, Lobster, Skate