College Cellars of Walla Walla 2015 Viognier
Fellow wine lovers, there’s a lesser known winery in Walla Walla which has really come into its own in recent years. In the past several months alone, they have had multiple wines winning top honors in various wine competitions around the nation, include with Sunset Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, TexSom/Dallas Morning News, and the Northwest Wine Summit. Not to mention they were written up in the Seattle Times late last year. This winery is making some outstanding wines, and is really unique because a part of the winemaking program at the Walla Walla Community College, and the wines are made by students under the guidance of top wine experts.
The Viticulture and Enology program at Walla Walla Community College boasts an advisory board which reads like the who’s who of Walla Walla- including winemakers from Woodward Canyon, Cayuse, Leonetti, L’Ecole, and Pepper Bridge- which often means that the students are interning at those high caliber wineries while in school. About three years ago I had the pleasure of meeting two of the instructors in charge of the there, Tim Donahue and Sabrina Lueck, and immediately took note of their tremendous knowledge and high level of passion for wine. Suffice it to say, ever since these two took charge of the program, the wines made by College Cellars of Walla Walla have gotten better and better every year, and this year they’ve broken through towards gaining recognition for their efforts. Don’t be fooled by the fact that these are student made wines. Once, when I was in college, I had my hair cut at a beauty school, by a student. The haircut was so bad, that I had to get it cut again elsewhere to fix it. This isn’t like that, and the wines are without a doubt made at a professional level.
I’m of the opinion that it’s not easy to find a great Viognier, as it can be difficult to turn out one which is balanced. The College Cellars Viognier is just that- balanced, elegant, and true to style. It’s one of few Viogniers I’ve seen sourced exclusively from Walla Walla, where I think the climate suites the grape properly. They’ve aged it in a large scale neutral oak tank, which can give the wine a bit of extra body, but no heavy oak character. The final product is a pretty glass of Viognier, with a lightly perfumed nose, showing hints of stonefruit, and tropical aromatics. The palate is medium bodied, dry and fairly crisp, with flavors of apricot, honeysuckle, and a hint of bright pineapple. Surely a great summer wine, and an excellent value
As far as I know, this wine is exclusive to us, as they’re not currently distributing it in the Seattle area. They’re loading up and sending us a shipment of the Viognier just for Impulse, which means we only get one shot at ordering it, and will need everyone’s orders in by 10am tomorrow (Wednesday) please.
Region: Walla Walla Valley AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard(s): Blue Mountain and Dwelley Vineyards
Aging: Aged in a Large Neutral Oak Tank
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Alcohol: 14.1% by volume
Press: Winery written up in the Seattle Times