One of the joys of this Washington wine blog is the annual visitation to Washington’s consistently top-dawg sauvignon blanc. Say what you will about the cabernets, the syrahs, and even the red blends, but local wine guzzlers who appreciate a fine white wine know that we can produce a killer sauvignon blanc also. We are not rabbits like the New Zealanders and their preference for grassy sb’s, and our climate is not sizzling Moroccan hot so we tend to skip the full melony flavors. No, my little urchins, Washington sauvignon blanc is all about the early September 2400 heat units, the dusty soil, and heady winds that can only be found at one site… Klipsun Vineyard in the prestigious Red Mountain AVA. This is where legends are made with many cabernets and merlots; however, still a well-kept secret is that little plot in the southwest section of the AVA where the grapes reside for this year-in, year-out outstanding wine.
Fast forward to what has been a monumental twelve months for the Reiner family. The first major milestone was Jerry’s ring-in-hand proposal at the end of Jennifer’s run at the San Francisco half-marathon. Of course, she said yes! Then, the defining life event was the birth of Josephine Isabelle Reiner on March 25. While still on the bottle (milk bottle, that is), Josephine has been impressed into service at the winery, mostly tagging along as Jerry’s assistant. Say what you will, but this blog has been following this wonderful couple since they first opened an offshoot tasting room shouldering fellow grape-killers’ confidant Mark Ryan Winery in 2007. This has been one of the more joyous stories to ever emerge from the warehouse district! They are a powerful, yet humble couple and their tasting room is a must-visit for any first-timer to the cluster of wineries in the warehouse district. Strongly recommended.
Keep in mind, Guardian Cellars has maintained its focus on making Washington’s finest red wines. So, it speaks volumes when such a winery produces only one white wine annually, and that just happens to be this baby. ‘Angel’ has always been a very special white wine, and not just for Guardian Cellars, but for the entire state, in general. With very few exceptions (Flying Dreams Winery and Mellisoni Vineyards), Washington sauvignon blanc continues to be treated like an afterthought by many wineries. Flaccid. Flabby. Flimsy. Lumpy. Wimpy. Disjointed. Overly acidic. Lacking complexity. The following hint explains the importance of sauvignon blanc in Washington: as goes sauvignon blanc, so goes the entire vintage of Washington’s wines. Yes, you can also say that about Washington’s rose wines, but not everyone can dig a sweet, pink wine. Sauvignon blanc is muscular enough to appeal to the macho wine drinkers, yet telling enough to give a peek into what to expect of forthcoming red wines from the same year.
While several previous vintages of ‘Angel’ have included a 20% blend with nearby (but not Red Mountain AVA) Spring Creek Vineyard, this 2012 reverts back to its roots of being a pure, 100%-sourced Klipsun Vineyard gem. This goes back to 2012 being evenly warm enough to merit comparisons to the outstanding 2005 and 2007 vintages. So, should anyone need a “seeing-eye dog” to sniff out the merits of what will be a remarkable 2012-vintage year of wines, this is your first, indisputable clue. Save your money, kiddies.
Food pairing was Lay’s sour cream and onion potato chips and Costco Crunchy Snack Mix. Boh-no, bitches!
Tasted at 55-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Shining, brilliant, luminescent yellow gold in the Riedel with hypnotic notes of guava, mountain apple, pink grapefruit, and lemon zest. Tangy, sharp acids on the palate lead to a long residence and additional sensations of cracked granite, pear, lime, underpinnings of bitter lemon, white pepper, and a splash of peach. Sizzling with some snap!
Alcohol: 14.1%. Klipsun Vineyard. Red Mountain AVA. Fermented in 100% new French oak for six weeks before transferring to stainless. Bottled March 13, 2013. 550 cases. Power: 3/5. Balance: 4/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 4/5. Rated: 94. Value: $38. Paid: $20. Music pairing: “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.