Wilridge Winery 2009 Estate Melange Blanc

Folks in New York City are being inspired by my muses. A 26
year-old NYU student purchased breast milk from three women and, instead of
making ice cream, she aged it into cheese for an exhibit at a gallery in the
East Village ‘hood that runs through Monday. Visitors will be offered a sample
of the final product. Which brings me back to an old ex-gf in my leaner days,
she was a well-endowed woman-in-training but she just lacked a little hygiene
at times. So, when I think of breast and cheese, I can’t help but recall times
of when I lifted that glorious pack of mammary tissue close to my face and
inadvertently exposed my eyes to some odd-colored residue and my nose to a
rather stenchy, skank-fume. Yeah, breast cheese…a real man’s kryptonite. Besides
commemorative beer made for the royal wedding, consumers can now bid on a
3-pack of “Crown Jewels.” The contents are condoms that are not performance-ready
but cost a pretty pence, kinda like Seattle’s own “Clipboard Jesus,” the
Seahawks only signed quarterback. And, leave it to Sean to ask me to stay up
with him and watch the royal wedding live at 2am then his neighbor reported
that while he was watching the beatification of John Paul II on tv, he
witnessed Sean “beatifying” his splinter behind the hedges in front of his
apartment. Someone research if wine mooching is linked to testosterone
deficiency. Guhhh. Oh wait, there’s hope—Japanese scientists have successfully
grown sperm in a test tube after cutting a sliver from Sean’s scroatbag. To
qualify for the treatment, he had to get a sperm count test and be told he was
dry. But then, they discovered another problem: his ‘senior wine writer’
partner is too old to conceive baby urchins. Hallelujah!

More reasons why “smart wine bloggers” is an oxymoron.

(1) some jackass reviewed a sample wine from Maryhill,
repeat—a SAMPLE wine (read: free), then had the gall to state, “I would
definitely pick up another bottle or two.” Hello? You didn’t buy any to begin
with! Are your readers that SHTOOPID?

(2) has anyone else scratched their head after reading the
Sunday wine follies in the local paper that the sphincterboy writer, who wants
to be known for elevating Washington wines into the international
consciousness, frequently recommends California (and other non-Washington)
wines? Worse yet, this car salesman had the gall to advise readers on how to
shop for wines in a store, even though he doesn’t shop for wines himself
(unless it comes in a jug or can). Like I’ve said before, his words on wine are
good for only one thing…wrapping fish.

(3) then there’s Shona. This dumpy, squat wine moocher who
mooches formal wear at Ross Dress For Less in return for a recommendation on
her awful website had the nerve to show me up on an earlier post, only to have
her words shoved back in her face by acknowledging she really did steal my
information. And, to follow up, I FIRST announced on my Twitter site that Covey
Run’s Woodinville tasting room was closing and that Cougar Crest would be
taking over and dared Shona to steal that scoop, which she did. I also was the
FIRST to announce that Trust Cellars would be coming to where the Gifford
Hirlinger tasting room is located and also dared that horse’s ass to steal my
info, and very clearly took it all. Note to wine bloggers: if you willingly
steal information from your peers, show some class and acknowledge your source.

Wilridge Winery is part of a trio of wineries that have
petitioned the Feds to create a new AVA in Naches Heights. The petition was
filed in November, 2008. The area will be notable for many firsts, including:
(1) the entire AVA is composed of one soil type—Tieton loam (wind blown loess)
over Andesite lava; (2) the elevation ranges from 1182 to 2100 feet, making
this the highest practical “average” elevation of all the AVAs; and (3) the intent is to
have all grapes grown within the AVA to be “organic.” Total acreage of the
proposed AVA is 13,254 acres, with about 40 acres currently planted to wine
grapes. Advocates claim the area is hotter than the surroundings (“…this isn’t
the banana belt up here…but it is as warm as some places in the Yakima Valley.”
–Phil Cline) and has “the potential to produce the finest wines in Washington.”
(Paul Beveridge)

Optimistically, this AVA should be approved around spring-summer,
2012 (it’s just a guess, folks). Comments have not been solicited by the TTB
yet, but that should be just a formality.

Then again, it could erupt into major drama like its AVA-neighbor
in the Rattlesnake Hills (approved February 16, 2006). There were 28 total
comments accepted (from 26 writers), which is far above-average for a proposed
AVA (Wahluke Slope got 1 comment and Columbia Gorge received 6 comments). The
majority supported the approval, but what was notable was the words from the
haters.

On the “nay” side were some wine-industry heavy hitters in
Wade Wolfe of Thurston Wolfe Winery, Bill and Jen DenHoed of Den Hoed Wine
Estates, Patricia Gelles of Klipsun Vineyard, Dick Boushey of Boushey
Vineyards, Chris Camarda of Andrew Will Winery, Mark and Tom Tudor of Tudor
Hills Vineyards, David Cowan of Cowan Vineyards, Colin Monell of Lonesome
Springs Ranch, Brenton Roy of Oasis Farms, and Paul Lukas of Winemakers LLC.
Many re-quoted the dissenting response from Colin Monell and Brenton Roy. Their
cause was not aided by the intentionally asinine comment from Chris Camarda (“it
would be better to call it the Clown Hills”). Basically, the dissenters were
hanging only on the points brought up by Monell and Roy, and that would prove
to be a weak opposition.

The supporters were a diversified group that included a
Yakima County planner, Joel Tefft of Tefft Cellars, Paul Portteus of Portteus
Winery and Vineyards, Thomas Campbell of Tanjuli Winery, Paul Vendenberg of
Paradisos del Sol Winery, a Seattle consumer, rebuttals by the Puryears of
Bonair Winery, a consulting winemaker company, and an ailing doctor and her
husband perhaps composed the most sensible set of comments that likely reflected
that of many wine consumers in the area. That, and Gail Puryear’s lazy shotgun
blasts that rendered Monell and Roy’s points moot.

Whatever your opinions are on the Ratt Hills, it’s a good
read and reveals deep fissures within the wine community. It also debunks the
myth that winemakers are “rock stars” or geniuses. “Clown Hills.” Really?

Food pairing was a mishmash of fried chicken, halibut cheeks
piccata (sauteed with artichoke hearts, button mushrooms, capers, clam nectar,
lemon juice and white wine), steamed asparagus, and cucumber salad. Uh, yeah.

Tasted at 41-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Strong initial reductive
odor on slow huff. A quick whiff revealed peach and melon. Color: diluted light
straw. Mouthfeel: soft and free. Tail trail: 4 seconds. Flavors: tart
grapefruit, spice, racy acids, tangerine, and lemon.

Alcohol: 13.0%. Wilridge Vineyard (1st white wine from this estate vineyard in Naches Heights). Columbia Valley AVA. 42% sau blanc, 42% pinot gris, 8% roussanne, 8% viognier. Harvested at 22 Brix. TA 0.71. pH 3.59. Bottled April 27, 2010. 71 cases. Ingredients: organic grapes, tartaric acid, yeast. Yes, loaded with fine “wine diamonds.” Rated: 87. Value: $12. Paid: $18. Music pairings: “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore and “Walk Like A Man” by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

Lesley Sue Goldstein celebrates her 65th on Monday. Happy Birthday, Lesley Gore!

Francis Stephen Castelluccio will turn 77 on Tuesday. Happy Birthday, Frankie Valli!

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5 Responses to Wilridge Winery 2009 Estate Melange Blanc

  1. wawineman says:

    By 8pm, it was reported that the US killed Osama bin Laden and now has custody of the body.

    Obama over Osama! Oh, mama!

    Now it’s okay to say… MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

  2. Scott Abernethy (@wino4ever) says:

    I hate to come off as a total dufus, but where can I read the pro- and con- comments on the Rattlesnake Hills AVA? I’m always curious when sub-appellations form to differentiate themselves from their wine-growing neighbors. Not saying it is wrong, but sometimes it seems like no more than a marketing scheme.

    However, Naches Heights has a valid claim to uniqueness, including Phil Cline. We had him as a guest speaker at our August picnic for the Wine Society, and he did a great job promoting the proposed AVA while wearing his rose-colored sunglasses. He reminded me a little bit of Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. Unique wines, and I almost found myself enjoying white and rosé wines. But then again, it was August and almost 100 degrees!

    Until next time…. And I’ll pass on the breast cheese.

  3. wawineman says:

    Why, I’m glad you asked, Scotty!
    http://www.ttb.gov/nprm_comments/ttbnotice47/
    I think AVAs are confused with the much more stringent restrictions of the French AOCs.
    On Oct. 2, 1979, the ATF defined what an AVA is, and of course, the rules were about as vague as could be expected, but centered around geography and appropriate naming. It had nothing to do with anything else. There are no defined regulated “standards” to measure against, other than previously approved AVAs. The definition was recently updated, but only mildly tightened the reins on a few issues. This is why it takes a scrutinous pack of attorneys to draft a convincing argument to petition the TTB. It also helps to have a passionate advocate who is also most familiar with the area being petitioned.
    As for marketing purposes, that will not assist in the petition application, but would be a clear beneficiary from the final approval.

  4. Chris says:

    Fast forward to late summer 2011 on the approval.

    http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2011/05/26/naches-heights-may-soon-earn-ava-designation

    Not sure why you chose to rehash the Ratt Hills application here since they are in no way related. They are not even neighbors. Close, but the City of Yakima and Union Gap and a whole bunch of diverse geology separates them.

  5. wawineman says:

    Well well well, my old rawhide buddy, Cowiche Chris has resurfaced!

    Thanks for the link and I accept your bet of your 1/2 case of Yakima’s best wines up against ONE bottle of Cote Bonneville 2006 cabernet. Approval in August? 2011? HaaahahahahahahaaaAAAAA! Comment period ends in July. What? You think the feds are that efficient?

    Fyi, the last comment for the Ratt Hills was August 4, 2005 and it wasn’t approved until February, 2006. As for the Wahluke Slope, last comment was July, 2005 and approved in December.

    The reason why I rehashed the Ratt Hills approval process was simply, I would rather not see another War of the Grapes again. The local wine industry is dysfunctional enough, but we don’t need to confirm it to the rest of the world. Leave the griping to us wine bloggers…

    Btw, where’s my phreakin’ tempranillo, hoss?

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