Sunday, July 12, 2009

Walla Walla Winery Series #2 (Patit Creek)

In my second installment of Walla Walla wineries, I will be discussing another wonderful winery located out at the old airport, Patit Creek Cellars. Typical of many wineries in the Walla Walla valley, they have a very nice tasting room, and their staff was great.

While they had been traditionally exclusively focused on Cab and Merlot, the winery is beginning to venture out under their new owners. The first step is a dry riesling. I found their 2007 release ($16) to be fairly typical of a dry riesling, and pleasant to enjoy (though I've had better ones elsewhere, East Fork Cellars in Ridgefield, WA makes a delicious one).

Moving on...

*2005 Merlot - sourced from Pepperbridge and Seven Hills vineyards, very balanced wine and quite tasty. $29
*2004 Merlot - from Columbia Valley (as most of the grapes in Walla Walla were lost due to bad weather that year), rich, earthy, bold fruit, and I felt it was better than the 05. $35
*2005 Cab - walla walla, currant and black cherry on palate, delicious! expect to get even better in 3-4 years. $29
*2004 Cab - Columbia Valley, smooth, a bit lighter, but very fruity and very good
*2002 Cab - its been my experience that on rare occasions a winery will open one of their library (or older) vintages. and when they do, its a treat! this cab was sourced from the Walla Walla valley, and it was spectacular! a perfectly balanced cab.

WINE TIDBIT: Aging Walla Walla Wines
As soon as I became interested in wine several years ago, I wanted to better understand the concept of aging wine and how best to go about it. Some of the most incredible wines I've tasted were stored carefully for decades before they were enjoyed. However, I have also been reading that perhaps the era of laying up wines for decades is coming to an end. In fact, I've heard an owner of a winery in Walla Walla comment that since he's in his seventies, he wants to be able to enjoin his wines now. Can't blame him there! That said, here's what I've discovered. By and large, the standard expectation of any wine coming out of Walla Walla is that it can be enjoyed right now. That is especially true of the $15-20 red table wines that make for great daily consumption. However, a number of the single red varietals (esp cab) can really become something else if given the chance to age just 12-18months. Maybe even 2-3 years. Allowing them to have that small time frame really enables these wines to fully come together, especially if they come from one of the better vintages. If you want to learn more about cellaring wine, check out my review of Jeff Cox's Cellaring Wine.


* Continued installments of Walla Walla Wineries
* Summary of my visit next week to several wineries located in Clark County, WA, just north of Portland.

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