Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on December 8, 2009:
Welcome to the announcement of finalists for the unofficial 1st annual Woodinville Wine Honors, sponsored by your unelected Woodinville-ist chief wino, WAwineman! This is one section of the overall honors to be announced on Christmas night, starting at 6pm PST. There’s still time to give public comments that may help sway the voting elite, although the judges prefer to remain vague and ambiguous like all the other so-called wine awards!
Remember, this section is reserved for Woodinville wineries/tasting rooms.
First up is the obvious: Best Wine of 2009. The nominees are: Darby 2007 ‘Purple Haze’, Betz Family Winery 2007 ‘La Cote Patriarche’ syrah, DeLille Cellars 2007 ‘D2’, Columbia Winery 2007 ‘Lapis’, Ross Andrews 2008 ‘Meadow’ pinot blanc, Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 ‘Crawford’ viognier, Sparkman Cellars 2007 ‘Darkness’ syrah, Betz Family Winery 2007 ‘Pere de Famille’ cabernet sauvignon, Guardian Cellars 2008 ‘Angel’ sauvignon blanc, JM Cellars 2008 chardonnay, and Envious Winemakers NV ‘Woodinville Red’.
Next up, Best Tasting Room of 2009. Nominated tasting rooms have separated themselves from the standard. The tasting area should be well-designed, spacious, unhurried, and provide a first-class tasting experience. The nominees are: Columbia Winery, DeLille Cellars (chateau), Bookwalter Winery, Alexandria Nicole Cellars Hidden Door Club room, Januik/Novelty Hill, and Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Rookie of the Year 2009. Qualified wineries/tasting rooms must have their “very first start of service” date at that location within the calendar year, through the first week of December. Qualifications include, but are not limited to, the wines served, the service staff, the tasting area, availability of wines tasted, wine club perks (still open for membership), access to the location, and the overall tasting experience. The nominees are: Maison Bleue/Isenhower Cellars, Tefft Cellars, Dusted Valley Art Gallery, and Sparkman Cellars.
And, although I personally objected to this, Hottest Winemaker of 2009. Nominees are: Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery, Jon Martinez of Maison Bleue Winery, Jerrold Bookwalter of Bookwalter Winery, Darby English of Darby Winery, and Derek DesVoignes of Cuillin Hills Winery. I personally would have thought of choosing Lou Facelli of Facelli Winery, but hey, I’m not voting on this!! Have you no shame?!
Let’s get back to the pertinent, shall we? What more can I say about Buty Winery’s chardonnay? This is my third vintage tasted and I am still amazed at how bold and beautiful this wine shines. Chardonnay may have plenty of detractors but it’s not due to this effort by vigneron Caleb Foster. This wine was vinted from the 20th growth out of this Radar Hill vineyard, south of Othello. To update vineyard notes, this has been certified as Salmon Safe since 2008. Two different clones were utilized for this vintage. As for the winery, they have added the ‘Beast’ as their alter-ego wines to the portfolio. These wines are single-vineyard, winery-direct one-of-a-kind offerings that include a grenache, syrah, malbec and cabernet and range between $28 and $35.
Personally, I don’t care for chardonnay-haters, but I thank them because that leaves more of this offering for winos like me that want to taste all of the best from Washington State. I can count all of the top Washington chardonnays on one hand and this one consistently occupies the index finger position.
Color: a deep, royal yellow. Nose: apple blossoms, Queen Anne pear, filthy ripe Clingstone peach, limon, Valencia orange. Mouthfeel: “Parkay!”, welterweight. Tail trail: 5 smooth seconds. Flavors: oak-less butter, apricot, peach, low-acid orange, lemon perk, back-end hint of grapefruit, minerally fizz, apple.
Harvested Sept. 20-Oct. 1. Brix 21.8-23.7. pH 3.25. TA 0.85-0.98%. Unadjusted and unfined. Fermented in 90% matured Burgundy barrels and lees stirred. Bottled July 2. Released Sept. 1. Cellar no more than 3 years. Alcohol: 14%. Rated: 100. Value: $50. Paid: $36. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.